You may continue disliking Adam Wainwright.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals and Wainwright, who was set to be a free agent after the season, have agreed to a lofty five-year, $97.5 million extension. Wainwright, 31, came back last year from 2011 Tommy John surgery, and he was very good in the second half.
That said, man-oh-man the market has completely changed. Obviously we already knew this to be true, but nearly $20 million per year on a five-year deal for a 31-year-old two years removed from Tommy John, and his one season since wasn’t even a dominant year (Edit: Well, upon a closer look, the advanced stats say he was just about as good last year as he was from 2008 to 2010)? And that’s an extension, not a free agent contract.
Wainwright was obviously ridiculously good from 2008 to 2010, so the Cardinals are banking both on his longevity and his return to dominance. If he doesn’t get back to that kind of form, and instead languishes in the 3.75 to 4.00 ERA range, this deal is going to become an albatross quickly.
But when does that ever happen to the Cardinals?
(Does this change the calculus on a Matt Garza extension? I’d think not. Garza hasn’t yet really been in Wainwright’s class, and Garza is still trying to come back from his elbow injury. Garza’s health and effectiveness in 2013 will dictate his next contract, and even with a dominant season (from May on), I’m not sure he gets this much money on the open market.)