Wainwright, Cards agree to contract extension

Pitcher Adam Wainwright will be a St. Louis Cardinal for at least five more years.

After a long period of on and off negotiations that began last season, the St. Louis Cardinals and pitcher Adam Wainwright have agreed to terms on a contract extension to keep the 31-year-old with St. Louis through 2018. According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who broke the news, the five-year deal will be worth $97.5 million, a team-record amount for a pitcher.

The deal was confirmed by the club and player at a Thursday morning press conference at the Cardinals complex in Jupiter, Fla.

The AP reports Wainwright's contract is for a flat $19.5 million each year. There are additional incentives of $500,000 for top 10 placements in the annual Cy Young Award vote; $50,000 for All-Star selections, playoff MVP awards and Gold Glove Awards; and $25,000 for Silver Slugger Awards. No-trade protection is included.

The right-hander, named opening day starter by manager Mike Matheny, is the acknowledged ace of the staff after the apparent career-ending injuries to Chris Carpenter. It is Wainwright's second selection to pitch the first game of the season (2009).

Acquired by the Cardinals as a minor leaguer from the Atlanta Braves in December 2003 as part of the J.D. Drew trade, Wainwright reached the majors late in the 2005 season. He starred as a reliever during the 2006 World Championship post-season.

The Cardinals and Wainwright agreed to a four-year contract extension in March 2008 that included club options for 2012 and 2013 that were picked up. That deal became worth a total of $36 million over six years, a very team-friendly contract. Wainwright would have been eligible for free agency following this season.

Among his many career highlights are third-place and second-place finishes in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Wainwright was voted a Gold Glove in 2009 and was an NL All-Star in 2010.

His low light had to be when it was announced during spring training 2011 that he would require elbow ligament replacement surgery. As a result, Wainwright sat out the entire 2011 World Championship season.

In seven major league seasons, the Georgia native has an 80-48 record with a 3.15 ERA. Wainwright has struck out 908 and walked 301 in 1,073 career innings with the Cardinals.

To see the Cardinals entire 40-man roster and the non-roster spring training invitees, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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