Well the clock may have been winding down, but the Cardinals didn't wait until the 11th hour and agreed to a 5 year, $97.5 million extension today with Adam Wainwright. Ken Rosenthal first reported the agreement via Twitter.
Overall, this is a win for the Cardinals, who appear to have gotten Wainwright for a discount. Chris Cwik projected a salary in the $21-23.5 million range and I expected something closer to $25 million (excluding signing bonus). The deal also is well below what Zach Greinke (6 years, $147 million) and Matt Cain (6 years, $127.5 million) got with their recent signings.
For his part, Wainwright probably agreed to a lower per year amount in order to get a longer deal. Waino admitted a while back that the length of the contract is "pretty important".
“The last thing you want to do is go into the last few years of your
career and be a free agent,” Wainwright said. “You’d like to have a deal
that takes you close to the end of your career so that way you don’t
have to go through this process again.”
Wainwright will be 37 at the end of the contract, which runs through the 2018 season. If he is still pitching effectively at that point, the Cardinals could re-up him on a two-year extension similar to how they handled Chris Carpenter's contracts.
Obviously, I'm pleased with this signing. Wainwright will be an important cog in the Cardinals staff for the next 6 years and should help the Cards young power pitchers transition to the majors.