ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have plenty of questions facing them as the offseason approaches, but one more matter was resolved on Thursday.
General manager John Mozeliak confirmed Thursday that the club has formally exercised its two-year contract option on right-hander Adam Wainwright, putting the rehabbing ace under contract through 2013. Mozeliak had already revealed that the club fully intended to pick up the option, which is part of a multiyear deal Wainwright signed in the spring of 2008.
The deal will pay Wainwright $9 million in 2012 and $12 million in '13, a relative bargain assuming he returns to the form he showed in '09 and '10. Wainwright underwent reconstructive elbow surgery this past spring and missed the entire season.
His rehabilitation has gone well, though, and Wainwright believes he's getting very close to being game-ready -- with the complication, of course, that there are no more games after this week. He fully expects to be ready to go for Spring Training in 2012.
Had Wainwright been healthy, the option years would have vested automatically. His contract provided for the option to kick in with a top-five finish in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2010 or '11, with one exception. Because Wainwright ended the year on the disabled list, the option did not automatically vest. Nonetheless, the club expressed little hesitation in picking it up.
With Wainwright in the fold, the Cardinals have five starting pitchers under contract for 2012: Chris Carpenter (who signed an extension in September), Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and Wainwright.
Several Cardinals can also be free agents after the season, highlighted by Albert Pujols but also including Rafael Furcal, Gerald Laird and Nick Punto. St. Louis still holds options on catcher Yadier Molina and relievers Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.