St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright won't become the top free-agent on the market this winter.
The Cardinals officially announced a five-year contract extension with their star pitcher at a Thursday morning news conference. The culmination of about two months of negotiating will keep Wainwright in St. Louis through 2018.
"I feel like my heart is in St. Louis. I love it there," Wainwright told reporters. "I love driving to the field, seeing the arch, driving up and seeing Busch Stadium. It's a treat to work there every day and is something that continues to catch me off-guard. It makes me feel like I am way too blessed, more than I deserve."
The five-year extension will begin after this season, and is worth $97.5 million, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and MLB Network. $97.5 million. Wainwright will earn $12 million in the final season of his current deal.
Wainwright's extension passes the five-year, $63.5 million deal Chris Carpenter signed with the Cardinals in Dec. 2006 as the richest in team history for a pitcher.
"When I think about today and what it means for the St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright, this really embraces everything we've been trying to accomplish for the last few years and fits in the culture that we're trying to build," general manager John Mozeliak said. "When you think about having players come up through your Minor Leagues and then contribute at the Major League level, Adam has really embodied that. I realize we got him in a trade. I realize he came from another organization, but he bought into everything this organization stands for. To be able to reward him for his excellence, it's really been a privilege to work with him and know him."
In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, the 31-year-old Wainwright went 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA. Since 2007, he has the sixth-lowest ERA among Major League pitchers.