Cardinals: New payroll numbers makes Wainwright signing questionable
Despite deferring money in his contract, Adam Wainwright’s contract still a major salary hit for the 2023 season.
The St. Louis Cardinals began their offseason resigning club icon Adam Wainwright for his final season, giving him an opportunity to out on a higher note than his 2022 ended. Initial reports on his contract excited fans, but new budget numbers make the signing look like a potential mistake.
Initial reports of the Wainwright’s contract was a 1-year, $17.5 million deal, but $10 million of that contract would be deferred and paid out $1 million per year from 2024 to 2033. Although that is still true, the issue lies in how those numbers are crunched when looking at the 2023 payroll.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, due to how MLB accounts for salary around the league (he gives a great explanation in his piece), Wainwright’s deferred money still counts against the 2023 Cardinals payroll, meaning the club really is paying the 41-year old $17.5 million for his 19th big league season.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Adam Wainwright, and I am excited he will be getting one more season with the club. But $17.5 million is almost half of what the Cardinals had to spend this offseason, and brings into question whether or not this was a good use of resources. Now the club has between $15-$20 million to spend this offseason, although that number can increase with some non-tenders and trades.
Wainwright was good once again for the Cardinals in 2022, going 11-12 with a 3.71 ERA while throwing 191.2 innings in 32 starts for the club. The future Cardinal Hall of Famer struggled down the stretch for St. Louis and did not appear in the postseason for the club, and he will look to bounce back from his disappointing finish for his final season.
There is still a lot of offseason to go, so it remains to be seen how this truly will impact their budget. Wainwright have a Pujols-like resurgence in his final year and pitch like prime Wainwright, which would be well worth the money. But at this moment, the likelihood leans more toward an overpay than a necessary move for St. Louis, and could be what keeps them from making some major upgrades that were necessary for their roster.
Stay up to date with all Cardinals moves, rumors, and more this offseason by checking out our up-to-date Cardinals offseason tracker.