Adam Wainwright Rumors

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


Quick Hits: Cardinals, Wainwright, Tigers, Porcello

Links from around baseball as Wednesday turns into Thursday..

  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak sounded upbeat about the club's contract talks with Adam Wainwright in an interview earlier today with Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin of SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio.  "Right now, I feel pretty optimistic that we’re going to find a way to get things done, but there are still challenges. But from my end of things, the fact that Steve Hammond and I are speaking is a good thing," said the GM.
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland recently floated the idea that using Rick Porcello as a closer could be an option, but he walked it back earlier today and said that it would be "highly unlikely", writes Jason Beck of MLB.com.  Porcello is a trade candidate for Detroit due to their strong rotation depth.
  • Jane Lee of MLB.com doesn't see the A's carrying two true first baseman this season, which would mean Daric Barton being left on the outside looking in.  Barton re-signed with the A's this winter on a one-year, non-guaranteed $1.1MM deal.

Why I Chose My Agency: Adam Wainwright

The Cardinals and Adam Wainwright hope to come to an agreement this spring on a long-term contract extension that will keep the right-hander in St. Louis. His agent Steve Hammond will play a large part in determining whether or not that happens. Wainwright sat down with B.J. Rains for MLB Trade Rumors to discuss his personal relationship with Hammond, the man that holds his future in his hands:

“When I was drafted out of high school I went through the draft with my brother as my council. He’s a lawyer and he handled negotiations for me in that right so I didn’t per se have an agent at that time, but I didn’t want to mix family and business and I don’t think my brother did either. The first time that I kind of opened the door for agencies to come interview me or me interview them I should say was in the instructional league or the Gulf Coast League or maybe even Spring Training of 2001. I had all the agencies come in, I had the Boras group come in and the Hendricks brothers came in and some big agencies came in from up north. I really liked all of them to be honest with you but then I had Steve Hammond come in and visit me.

“The first time Steve called to interview I had never heard of him. It was around Valentine’s Day and my girlfriend at the time who I am married to now was coming to visit me and I needed a Valentine’s Day present so I went to the mall to get her something and I completely big leagued him – I forgot to show up for our meeting. He had his feelings hurt a little bit but he came back around the second time and I said I completely forgot, I was getting something for Jenny, please forgive me, let’s go out and meet again. We went to a Cuban or Dominican place to eat dinner and just talked about what he brought to a player’s career and what he’s looking for in a client and I really liked that. He didn’t sit there and tell me how great I was for an hour straight. He just shot me straight and told me about him and we talked about golf and baseball and instantly I thought this is the guy I want to go with but logically you sit down and say but do I need to go with one of these more established, bigger agencies? Looking at his career he had represented a lot of people that I knew. He represented Chipper Jones for a time and Orel Hershiser and some big guys so I knew he had the ability to be a great agent and he was a great agent but he brought the intangibles to that I was looking for. 

“What I got from Steve was more than just an agent. He was a guy that I just got a great feeling about. All things being equal, I looked at all the agents and I realized they were all great agents so I said well what is the one thing that is different that is somebody that I need to pick and Steve Hammond had that. I looked at him as somebody I respected as a father. I looked at his family life. He and I had a lot of similar interests. He’s a former player but he loves golf and tennis and ping pong and doing all those kinds of things with his boys. I just got to interact with him a little bit and I really felt like I was part of the family and I felt like he was part of my family and since that time I feel like he is part of my family. Steve has become one of my biggest spiritual mentors in my life. He’s more than an agent. He gets mad when I introduce him as my agent to other people. He’s almost more than a friend too. I really do think of him as family. He’s almost like a father figure to me or an uncle figure or a brother figure – one of those family figures. He’s just a guy that I can look to. I trust him completely. I trust him with anything I bring to the table. I trust his advice and that was something that really caught my eye. You can get a feeling of someone’s character and integrity right away when you talk to someone a lot of times and he and I just clicked.”


Quick Hits: MLBPA, Wainwright, Dodgers

One year ago today, the Orioles' signing of Miguel Gonzalez to a minor league contract became official. The move drew little notice at the time, but Gonzalez would go on to become a key cog in Baltimore's unlikely playoff berth. Gonzalez pitched to a 3.25 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 105 1/3 innings for manager Buck Showalter's team. Here's more news from around the league…

  • Scott Miller of CBS Sports spoke with MLBPA director Michael Weiner about the increasing amount of players calling for harsher penalties for first-time PED offenders. Recently, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Holliday, Michael Cuddyer and Ryan Zimmerman spoke out, with Cuddyer calling for first-time offenders to receive 100-game suspensions. Weiner said the issue will be tackled this coming offseason.
  • Adam Wainwright's agent Steve Hammond has returned from a ten-day trip to Israel, so negotiations with the Cardinals could resume soon, tweets B.J. Rains of 1380 AM.  Rains spoke with Wainwright about his relationship with Hammond for a forthcoming installment of MLBTR's "Why I Chose My Agency" series.
  • MLB.com's Ken Gurnick looks at the nine Dodgers will be free agents following the 2013 season. As Gurnick notes, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Nick Punto, Mark Ellis, Jerry Hairston, Matt Guerrier, J.P. Howell and Juan Uribe will all be eligible for free agents. They're not all guarantees to depart, however, as Capuano, Ellis and Harang all have options on their contracts. This is also the final season that the Dodgers will owe $8.3MM in deferred money to Manny Ramirez, meaning they'll have $54.2MM coming off the books.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explains that the disparity in salaries between experienced players and inexperienced players works in favor of low revenue teams and has a positive impact on competitive balance in MLB.

Steve Adams and Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.