Cardinals, Wainwright finalize deal: one-year, $2M, plus incentives

Adam Wainwright could earn millions of dollars in performance bonuses depending on how and how often he pitches.
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ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright became a free agent Monday, then finalized a one-year, $2 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals that allows him to earn $8 million in performance bonuses as a starting pitcher, $3 million for relief appearances and $4 million more for games finished.

St. Louis announced the agreement Oct. 11, but the deal was held up because it would have violated baseball’s labor contract, which says guaranteed salaries cannot be reduced by more than 20 percent.

Wainwright was coming off a five-year, $97.5 million contract that paid $19.5 million this year. Because he became a free agent, the maximum-cut rule no longer applied.

He would get 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.

Wainwright would get $500,000 each for 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 relief appearances, $500,000 apiece for 25 and 30 games finished, and $600,000 each for 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55.

Wainwright was 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA in eight starts this year, during which he missed time with hamstring and elbow injuries. He pitched four times in September.

A three-time All-Star, Wainwright is fifth on the Cardinals’ career list with 148 wins and second with 1,623 strikeouts. He was the closer for the Cardinals’ World Series championship team in 2006.

St. Louis also won a title in 2011, but Wainwright did not pitch that year.