Cardinals agree to deal with Adam Wainwright for 2020 season

Sports

FILE – In this Oct. 15, 2019, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Adam Wainwright throws during the second inning of Game 4 of the baseball National League Championship Series, in Washington. The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have agreed to a contract for next season, raising the likelihood that the veteran pitcher finishes his career with the only major league team he has ever played for.
Terms of the deal Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, were not disclosed.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have agreed to a contract for the 2020 season, increasing the likelihood the pitcher will finish his career with the only major league team he has played for.

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 played last season with a $2 million base salary and proved he remained effective, going 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA while helping the Cardinals reach the NL Championship Series. He earned $8 million in bonuses based on starts.

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 also 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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