The St. Louis Cardinals have picked up a two-year, $21 million contract option on injured pitcher Adam Wainwright, helping set their rotation for next year, even if it meant making the move during the World Series.
Wainwright, a 20-game winner in 2010, is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in February that sidelined him for the entire season. He threw his final bullpen session before St. Louis played the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the World Series on Thursday.
The Cardinals previously picked up the option on Chris Carpenter's contract, extending it through 2013 and paying him, ironically enough, $21 million over two years. Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook are signed for 2012. Thus, all signs point to the same rotation they had going into this year.
General manager John Mozeliak said the move has been a formality for months. The Cardinals expect Wainwright will be ready for spring training with no restrictions.
Obviously we just wanted to be smart and make sure his rehab was going well, Mozeliak said. But we never had any doubts we'd be picking up the option.
Wainwright was 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA and 213 strikeouts (the most of his career so far) last year, made his first All-Star team and finished second behind the Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay in the Cy Young Award balloting. The right-hander led the NL with 19 wins and 233 innings in 2009, along with 212 strikeouts, and won a Gold Glove, finishing third in Cy Young voting.
Wainwright will be paid $9 million next season and $12 million in 2012.
The Cardinals plugged the hole in the rotation after Wainwright went down this season by promoting setup man Kyle McClellan, who was a big success in the first half and finished with 12 wins. They also acquired Edwin Jackson near the trade deadline.
Wainwright was the stand-in closer in 2006 for injured Jason Isringhausen, and got the last out in both the NLCS and World Series.