(Baseball StL) -- The Cardinals don’t usually hand out long term contracts to pitchers. Injuries to pitchers, especially those in their 30’s, are so frequent that giving them a five year contract represents a major risk.
Every delivery can be the last pitch of a career. So when the Cardinals gave Adam Wainwright a new five year deal worth $97.5 million, you can be sure it was a decision that required a lot of careful thought. And a prayer that Wainwright stays healthy.
If there is any player that you’d want to gamble on it’s Adam Wainwright. He’s proven to be a bonafide, front of the rotation ace. He’s also a terrific leader in the clubhouse who creates a positive atmosphere for the club. If he can turn back the clock to 2010 when he won 20 games and finished second in the Cy Young voting, and remain at that level for the next five years, the Cardinals will have made an excellent investment.
If he repeats his performance of 2012 however, when he went 14-13 with a 3.94 era, the Cardinals will have drastically overspent to keep him.
Wainwright’s character and leadership ability are the X factors here. Even if he never returns to his 20 victory form, Wainwright represents everything the Cardinals want in a player.
Plus, the club has several young starting pitchers close to joining the rotation whose salaries will balance the huge checks that will be going to the Wainwright bank account.
Wainwright has been identified as a core player for the Cardinals organization, and owner Bill DeWitt Jr. was willing to part with almost $100 million of his money to keep him in St. Louis.
Risky move, but the price of doing business with all star talent.