The Cardinals have re-signed veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright to a one-year deal, per a club announcement Tuesday morning. Wainwright will receive a $5 million base salary with $5 million in potential incentives, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold, those incentives are based on games started, with bonuses being paid out following Wainwright’s 20th, 25th, and 28th starts:
One more year for Waino!— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) November 12, 2019
We have agreed to terms with free-agent pitcher Adam Wainwright on a one-year contract for 2020. pic.twitter.com/ZzKnVUKly1
Wainwright contract with #STLCards, per source: One year, $5M plus $5M incentives.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 12, 2019
Wainwright’s deal is $5 million base, and he can max out with $5 million bonuses based on starts — incentives set at 20 starts, 25 starts, and he tops out at 28 starts, per a source. #stlcards #cardinals https://t.co/vPd7DujrI1— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) November 12, 2019
This move would’ve been difficult to predict a year ago — thus why the Cardinals’ tweet announcing that they signed him to a one-year deal last October contained the same “one more year” text — but the 38-year-old bounced back in a major way in 2019, starting more than 30 games (31) for the first time since 2016 and posting a 4.19 ERA that may not look that impressive to the naked eye, but was above average judging by ERA+ in a season where the (probably) juiced ball caused offenses to thrive.
This new deal likely will allow Wainwright and his beloved longtime battery mate, Yadier Molina, to walk into the sunset together following the 2020 season. Molina said back in 2018 that he planned to retire when his contract expired after the 2020 campaign, and though he walked that back a bit last January, he said following the Cardinals’ elimination from the NLCS last month that he hoped to play “one more year” with Waino (then again, as the contract announcement tweets above show, things change quickly). Both players have spent their entire major-league careers in St. Louis, with Molina making his debut in 2004 and Wainwright coming up late in 2005. Wainwright has thrown to Molina 309 times in the regular season, and they have an extensive postseason history together as well — most notably when Wainwright threw the final pitch of the 2006 World Series to Molina.