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Wainwright guaranteed $5M by Cards, can earn $5M for starts

(AP Photo/Will Newton, Pool)

ST. LOUIS (AP) Adam Wainwright is guaranteed $5 million in his one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and can earn up to $5 million in performance bonuses, which allows the pitcher to match his 2019 earnings.

That is up from a $2 million guarantee in his 2019 deal, in which he earned an additional $8 million based on starts.

Wainwright's contract, announced Tuesday, calls for $1.5 million each for 20 and 25 starts, and $2 million for 28.

In the event he is shifted to the bullpen, he could earn $500,000 apiece for 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 relief appearances.

Wainwright also gets a full no-trade provision.

Last season's deal had a $500,000 bonus for five starts, $1 million each for 10 and 15, $1.5 million for 20, and $2 million apiece for 25 and 30. That was down from a $19.5 million salary in 2018, the final season of a $97.5 million, five-year contract.

The 38-year-old Wainwright was drafted by the Braves in 2000 and traded to the Cardinals three years later. He made his major league debut in 2005 and has been a stalwart for St. Louis the past 14 seasons, going 162-95 with a 3.39 ERA and three All-Star appearances.

He was 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA last season while helping the Cardinals reach the NL Championship Series.

Wainwright was especially valuable down the stretch. He had a 2.97 ERA in September and a 1.62 ERA in the postseason, where the Cardinals were ousted by eventual World Series champion Washington.

"We're obviously excited we could reunite again," team president John Mozeliak said Tuesday at the annual general managers meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona. "You think about his history and what he's meant to the Cardinals. He and Yadier (Molina) will continue to set records together, hopefully."

Wainwright has become one of the franchise's most popular players, due not only to his success but also his longevity. He didn't miss a start last season and will head into next season trailing only Jesse Haines (1920-37) and Bob Gibson (1957-75) among the Cardinals' longest-tenured pitchers.

The right-hander, who helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011, is fourth in franchise history in wins. He is second in strikeouts (1,776) and sixth in innings pitched, even though he missed substantial parts of the 2011, '15 and '18 seasons with injuries.

Each time, Wainwright has come back seemingly better than ever.

"It's not only impressive, it's almost miraculous," Mozeliak said. "That's part of what makes him special. He's so focused and understands there's other ways to get people out in this game other than throwing 100. He proved you can do it by being strategic."

He was tied for sixth in the NL in wins last season with his highest total since 2014, when he won 20 games. In doing so, Wainwright became the first Cardinals pitcher since Pete Alexander in 1928 to win at least 14 games at age 38 or older. Alexander won 16 games at the age of 41.

Wainwright also is the franchise leader in postseason games pitched (27) and strikeouts (115).

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Updated November 13, 2019

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