Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY Sports
Adam Wainwright may very well be a St. Louis Cardinal for life.
The right-handed starter has signed a five-year, $97.5 million contract extension that will keep him with the club through the 2018 season.
Wainwright, 31, was eligible for free agency after this season, but he and the club had been working on parameters of an extension throughout spring training, with the hope of striking a deal before opening day.
They hit their goal with a few days to spare.
The Cardinals held a Thursday morning news conference to announce the deal, an event attended by teammates Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran, among others. Their presence indicated the import Wainwright has to the organization.
Wainwright is 80-48 in his seven-year career, missing the 2011 season after undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery that February. But he reestablished himself last season, winning 14 games while posting a 3.94 ERA. Two years removed from surgery, Wainwright figures to be even more effective this season.
And the Cardinals will need him to be an ace.
Thursday, Wainwright seemed humbled by the club's commitment to him.
"To whom much is given, much is required, and I'm going to make the most of my opportunity here," he said.
With the likely retirement of Chris Carpenter, Wainwright is the undisputed ace of the club and will helm a rotation that will be young and unproven on the back end.
USA TODAY Sports