Adam Wainwright was going to be expensive for the St. Louis Cardinals, but it just got even pricier after Charlie Morton’s extension.
The price to extend Adam Wainwright just went up — potentially by a lot.
Before it was reported that the St. Louis Cardinals were prepared to offer Adam Wainwright a one-year extension, we looked at what it might cost to extend him. The best comparison was Charlie Morton, a right-handed pitcher in his mid-30s who was on a one-year, $15 million contract in 2021.
Well, wouldn’t you know it. Morton, 37, was extended before Wainwright, signing a one-year, $20 million contract with the Atlanta Braves that includes a $20 million club option for the 2023 season that contains no buyout. It’s a massive amount of money for Morton, who has a 3.47 ERA in 158 innings this season while striking out 185 batters, and could impact the type of contract that Wainwright signs should he decide to play in 2022.
Wainwright, 40, has been better than Morton this season, posting a 2.91 ERA in 176 innings while striking out 159 batters. He could actually earn more than Morton, considering he is only making $8 million this season, though it’s unlikely he will, considering both Wainwright and the Cardinals will not allow him to play outside of St. Louis in what would very well be his last season in baseball.
That said, Wainwright will come more expensive than $8 million next season. Potentially a lot more. Yadier Molina received more money, signing for $10 million after earning $9 million in 2020, and has actually been worse statistically this season. Wainwright could very well earn $15 million on a one-year deal and considering his performance this season, would be totally justified.
Having both Molina and Wainwright on the books for $25 million in 2022 could impact the Cardinals’ financial flexibility in the offseason, which could hinder them from signing a top shortstop or another starting pitcher. But it’s the position they find themselves in and after the Morton extension, could be even pricier than that.