Wainwright Comes to Terms with Cardinals on 2021 Contract

photo: Adam Wainwright via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

On Thursday evening, national reporter Jon Heyman was first to report that free agent right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright and his only team as a major leaguer, the St. Louis Cardinals, have come to agreement on a one-year, $8 million contract.

Update: The new contract is structured with a base plus appearance incentives that if all reached would total $8 million, reports Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.

That maximum would be the same amount as the 39-year old could have earned in a full season in 2020 had he been able to achieve his $3 million in incentives over his $5 million base.

This is the first positive move of the offseason by the Cardinals at the major league level after three who were under team control were let go – Kolten Wong, John Brebbia and Rangel Ravelo. From the 2020 club, free agents to have departed along with Wainwright are infielder Brad Miller, catcher Matt Wieters and future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina.

The latter is the most likely to return – to rejoin his long-time battery mate Wainwright. As of now, other than Brebbia (who quickly signed with San Francisco), the other five remain free agents.

Early in the off-season, rumors connected Wainwright to interest by Atlanta and Kansas City, but nothing materialized. This week, another rumor suggested the San Diego Padres had also made an offer to the veteran curveball specialist, who first came up with St. Louis in 2005.

Adam Wainwright

In 2020, Wainwright threw a team-high 65 2/3 innings over 10 starts, posting a 3.15 ERA. Following the season, he was selected to receive MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award for his humanitarian efforts.

For 2021, Wainwright will rejoin a rotation that should include ace Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Kwang-Hyun Kim, plus some combination of Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes, Austin Gomber and others competing for the fifth spot.

With the move, the Cardinals 40-man roster will increase to 38. The other two spots could be earmarked for Molina (or other catcher) and a designated hitter.

Friday morning update

The Wainwright signing was confirmed by the Cardinals on Friday morning. As per team policy, the amount was not shared.

Friday evening update

For more

To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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