Adam Wainwright Rumors

NL Central Notes: Choate, Wainwright, Guerrero, Taillon

As the Cardinals battle to represent the National League Central in the World Series, let's have a look at St. Louis and the two other post-season qualifying members of the division.

  • Left-handed reliever Randy Choate had his pick of the Cardinals and the Dodgers over this past off-season, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His manager, Mike Matheny, credits him not only for his performance on the hill but for mentoring the many excellent young arms that have cycled through the team's bullpen this year.
  • Starting for the Cards this evening was Adam Wainwright, who has been as important as any player to the team's recent successes. As MLB.com's Steve Gilbert writes, the deal that brought him to St. Louis about a decade ago could not have turned out any better for team or player.
  • Walt Jocketty, the GM who pulled the trigger on that trade, is currently at the helm of the rival Reds. Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he is unlikely to bring aboard Cuban middle infielder Alexander Guerrero, who the club was rumored to be in on. "We scouted him extensively and had a lot of discussions," said Jocketty. "But I don't believe anything will happen."
  • Top Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon has been shut down after suffering a groin injury in his first outing in the Arizona Fall League, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The injury itself doesn't seem to be significant, however, and it seems unlikely to have a significant impact on the club's plans for 2014. With Taillon now unable to add additional innings to his arm, he will have a base of less than 150 to work from next season. Of course, that is about the level that Gerrit Cole had to build off of this year. Taillon also will miss the chance to develop against AFL talent, but he has already advanced to the upper minors and should get more time there to start the season.

Quick Hits: Wainwright, D’Backs, Hultzen, Royals

The Cardinals rolled to a 9-1 win over the Pirates in Game One of their NLDS series today, as A.J. Burnett allowed seven runs in just two innings while Adam Wainwright allowed a run on three hits over seven innings.  Pittsburgh has had to deal with Wainwright as a division rival for years yet MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter) points out that Wainwright could've been a Pirate 13 years ago.  The Bucs were preparing to take Wainwright as an outfielder in the second round (with the 59th overall pick) of the 2000 draft, but the Braves took Wainwright 29th overall and the rest is history.

Here are some more news items as we look ahead to Friday's ALDS series openers…

  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said his team will look for a left-handed bat this offseason, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports, and that next hitter will likely come in a trade.  "We're going to look at free agents, but I think this is one of the weaker free-agent markets I've seen in some time, so that might lead us toward looking at trade partners more," Towers said.
  • Mariners southpaw Danny Hultzen underwent left shoulder labrum and rotator-cuff surgery on Tuesday and could miss the entire 2014 season while recovering, Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reports.  MLB.com ranked Hultzen as the 18th-best prospect in the sport in the site's preseason rankings, while Baseball America (#29) and ESPN's Keith Law (#66) also thought highly of the 23-year-old lefty.  Hultzen was the second overall pick of the 2011 draft and was quickly moving up the Seattle farm system, posting a 2.05 ERA, 4.86 K/BB and 10.0 K/9 in six Triple-A starts last season.
  • Some of the flaws of the new collective bargaining agreement can be seen in the case of the Royals, ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) argues, as small-market teams who finish just shy of the postseason are somewhat "punished" by the system.
  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at which players in the postseason could be targets for the Yankees or Mets in free agency or the trade market this winter.  Some players could fit on either club, such as Ricky Nolasco.  Martino says the Mets "tossed around" Nolasco's name when discussing a Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Marlins last spring.

Adam Wainwright Extension Reactions

Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has officially signed a five-year, $97.5MM extension that includes a no-trade clause, preventing him from hitting the free agent market next offseason. Here's a roundup of reactions from around the internet.

  • Wainwright's contract is an example of "sticker shock" in MLB salaries, Jonah Keri at Grantland writes. Keri points out that the average annual value of Wainwright's contract is comparable to those of Matt Cain and Jered Weaver, but Cain and Weaver are younger and didn't recently miss a year due to Tommy John surgery, as Wainwright did in 2011. But that doesn't necessarily make it a bad deal, Keri says, because of changing economic circumstances throughout the game.
  • The Cardinals "paid a premium" for Wainwright, writes Steven Goldman of SB Nation. Goldman points to Wainwright's lower velocity last year as cause for concern. "Wainwright and the Cardinals are both looking for security in this deal, but if that's the case only one party to the deal will be sleeping well at night," says Goldman.
  • If Wainwright had been allowed to leave via free agency after the 2013 season, the Cardinals would have missed his leadership, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch argues. "With Chris Carpenter's career ruined by chronic pitching-health issues, and Jaime Garcia not possessing the hard-wiring to be a leader type, the Cardinals faced a potential void at the top," says Miklasz. "If Wainwright had left as a free agent after the 2013 season, who would guide the young pitchers?"
  • At the press conference to announce his signing, Wainwright himself had kind words for the city of St. Louis, the Associated Press reports. "I feel like my heart is in St. Louis," said Wainwright.


Cardinals Extend Adam Wainwright

The projected number one free agent starter for next offseason is off the market.  The Cardinals officially signed righty Adam Wainwright to a five-year, $97.5MM extension that covers the 2014-2018 seasons and includes a no-trade clause.  Wainwright, 31, is represented by Steve Hammond of Aegis Sports Management. He was set to enter free agency next year as the top pitcher available on MLBTR's Tim Dierkes's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings.  "I can't wait to make you proud of this contract," Wainwright told Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. during his press conference today, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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The Cards were reportedly working on an extension with their All-Star hurler at various points throughout the spring, with both team and player reportedly preferring to leave Florida with a new deal in place.  Wainwright's new deal falls short of the six-year, $127.5MM extension signed by Matt Cain with the Giants a year ago as well as Zack Greinke's six-year, $147MM deal with the Dodgers achieved in free agency.  Aside from the shorter term, Wainwright's average annual value of $19.5MM is short of Cain ($21.25MM) and Greinke ($24.5MM).  One potential reason for the difference in the extended pitchers: Wainwright's extension begins with his age 31 season, while Cain's began with his age 27 campaign.  It should be noted that with Cain's deal, it was actually five years and $112.5MM in new money, since he was already under contract for 2012.  Greinke's contract, of course, was signed after open bidding.

Wainwright notched a 3.94 ERA, including 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9, over 198 2/3 innings with the Cards in his first season back from Tommy John surgery.  He posted a 3.51 ERA from May 6th onward.  As Rosenthal notes in his full article discussing the extension, Wainwright has pitched to a career 3.15 ERA in the majors.  He began his big league career as a successful reliever in '06.  In March 2008, Wainwright inked a four-year, $15MM extension with the Cardinals, and the team chose to exercise a dual club option covering the 2012 and '13 seasons.    

With the contracts of Chris Carpenter and Jake Westbrook set to expire after this season, Wainwright will be the elder statesman of the rotation.  He's signed through 2018, and Jaime Garcia potentially through 2017.  Lance Lynn is under team control through 2017, and promising youngsters such as Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal through 2018.  Well-regarded prospects Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha are also waiting in the wings.

As Dierkes' power rankings reflect, Josh Johnson is now the projected top free agent starter after this season, followed by Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, and Matt Garza.  There's a lot of uncertainty in that bunch.   

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first broke the story.  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.  Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.


Latest On Adam Wainwright

The Cardinals and ace Adam Wainwright are still working towards reaching agreement on a contract extension as spring training comes to a close.  Sources familiar with both sides of the conversation expressed a sense of optimism to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a deal will be struck before Opening Day.

The two sides took a break from extension talks earlier in the offseason when Wainwright was seeking more years than the Cards were willing to offer.  However, they have come back to the table in recent weeks and reports have generally been positive regarding the discussions.  

An extension for the 31-year-old figures to be the most lucrative one ever given to a pitcher by the Cardinals.  Deals given to right-handed starters Matt Cain (six years, $127.5MM) and Zack Greinke (six years, $147MM) could provide a framework for a deal.

Wainwright posted a 3.94 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 198 2/3 innings last season after returning from Tommy John surgery.


NL Central Notes: Figgins, Cedeno, Wainwright, Bucs

Some news from around the NL Central…

  • The Cubs haven't been in contact with Chone Figgins, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports.  Figgins was released by the Marlins earlier this week and, as Rogers notes, is one of the few veteran options available if the Cubs want to bring in a third baseman.
  • Ronny Cedeno has cleared waivers after being released by the Cardinals three days ago, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter).
  • Chris Cwik of CBSSports.com analyzes the cost of an Adam Wainwright extension with the Cardinals and figures Wainwright will end up being paid between $21-$23.5MM per season.  Talks are ongoing between Wainwright and the Cards and the ace right-hander feels positive that an extension will be settled before Opening Day.  Wainwright is eligible for free agency after this season.
  • Jonathan Sanchez can opt out of his minor league deal with the Pirates on Sunday if he hasn't been added to the club's Major League roster, but the Bucs have until Tuesday to respond, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports.  Sanchez's one-year contract will guarantee him $1.375MM if he makes the roster.
  • Also from Singer, he opines that the Pirates' trade for John McDonald is the kind of veteran acquisition a team makes when it believes it will contend.  Otherwise, Singer wonders why Pittsburgh would add McDonald to an already-deep middle infield mix.

Quick Hits: Padres, Wainwright, Posey, Theriot

Cubs starting pitcher and extension candidate Jeff Samardzija struggled on the hill at times tonight, but showed a new way to add value by launching his second long ball of the spring and adding another base hit (along with a sacrifice bunt). Indeed, Samardzija's work on offense was so impressive that he was allowed to take his final plate appearance before being lifted for a reliever in the bottom of the inning. Elsewhere in the National League …

  • With the first four spots in the Padres rotation all but locked down by Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, Jason Marquis, and Eric Stults, the club could be eyeing outside options for starter number five, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com. Brock notes that in-house options include Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Tim Stauffer, and Freddy Garcia. San Diego was also recently linked to the Tigers' Rick Porcello. GM Josh Byrnes was not shy in acknowledging his interest: "Our scouts are out there, and we're talking to a few clubs." 
  • Extension discussions between the Cardinals and starter Adam Wainwright still appear to be moving in a positive direction, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Said Wainwright: "I think both sides feel confident something could get done." We learned earlier today that talks were progressing.  
  • An extension agreement between the Giants and star catcher Buster Posey could take many forms, which serves to complicate negotiations, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Giants and Posey will likely discuss "a three-year deal that buys out arbitration, a different mid-range deal that cuts into free agency and the so-called 'megadeal' that locks Posey into San Francisco for a decade."
  • Infielder Ryan Theriot remains unsigned after playing last year with the world-champion Giants, and San Francisco GM Brian Sabean says that the club has "lost contact" with the 33-year-old, reports Schulman. Theriot remains interested in playing, but so far has not received an offer that is "exactly what I'm looking for playing-time-wise." If the right opportunity does not come along, the easy-going Theriot seems to be at peace with moving on from the game to spend time with his young family.

Extension Talks Progress For Wainwright, Cardinals

The Cardinals continue talking to the representative for Adam Wainwright about a long-term extension. Agent Steve Hammond recently met with Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak to discuss a multiyear deal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Hammond said he hopes the sides built momentum during a lengthy meeting.

"We want to get something done before Spring Training ends, and that’s our goal," Hammond told Goold. "They have communicated clearly that they want to keep Adam here, and we’ve communicated that he wants to be here. We have to keep working on that."

The sides intend to stay in touch during the coming days. They took a break from extension talks earlier in the offseason, when Wainwright wanted more years than the Cardinals were offering. The Cardinals seem willing to pay Wainwright like a top-of-the-rotation starter, Goold writes.

Wainwright returned from Tommy John surgery to post a 3.94 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 198 2/3 regular season innings in 2012. The 31-year-old will hit free agency next offseason if he doesn’t sign a long-term deal with the Cardinals.

Matt Cain (six years, $127.5MM) and Zack Greinke (six years, $147MM) and are among the right-handed starters whose contracts could provide a framework for Wainwright’s next deal. Earlier this month, Wainwright spoke to MLBTR contributor B.J. Rains about his relationship with Hammond.


Cardinals Notes: Kozma, Cedeno, Wainwright

Earlier today the Cardinals announced a five-year, $31MM extension for Allen Craig that buys out up to two of the 28-year-old’s free agent seasons. Here are some more notes related to the Cardinals, who learned this week that shortstop Rafael Furcal will have to undergo Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow…

  • Furcal’s injury isn’t disastrous, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. As long as Pete Kozma can provide acceptable defense until the trade market develops, the Cardinals should be fine. The team’s internal projections didn’t expect more than 100 starts from Furcal in 2013, according to Strauss.
  • The early returns on Ronny Cedeno are “less than glowing,” according to Strauss, who notes that Cedeno’s $1.2MM contract is not guaranteed.
  • The Cardinals remain apart on years and dollars in extension talks with Adam Wainwright, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Mozeliak expressed optimism about the discussions, telling Stark "I feel good about where we're headed but we'll see."

Cardinals Notes: Tulowitzki, Wainwright, Pitching

Expect to hear a lot of rumors about the Cardinals' shortstop vacancy until Opening Day and beyond, as earlier today GM John Mozeliak left the door open for the team to pursue outside help if the Cards' internal options aren't up to the task.  Here are the latest items about the 11-time World Series champions…

  • The Cardinals haven't called the Rockies about Troy Tulowitzki, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets, though such a call would've probably been moot since Colorado has no interest in trading its star shortstop.  If St. Louis does acquire a new shortstop, I'd suspect it would be a player who comes at a much lower price than Tulowitzki, who is owed $144MM through the 2020 season.
  • Mozeliak suggested to reporters (including Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) that both the Cards and right-hander Adam Wainwright would like to resolve discussions regarding a possible contract extension by Opening Day. Talks are ongoing, according to Mozeliak, who said yesterday that he’s optimistic about reaching a deal.
  • Losing both Chris Carpenter and Rafael Furcal for the season could turn 2013 into a transition year for the Cardinals, Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.  The Redbirds' biggest asset is its young pitching, but with the team still figuring out the best roles for its young arms, Gordon thinks the Cardinals might prefer to keep those pitchers for the short term rather than trade them for a shortstop any time soon.

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post