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Adam Wainwright Rumors
While both the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have advertised a pause in contract talks, the lines of communication are open and conversations continue to occur between both parties, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The pitcher had said that talks were on hold as recently as last week.
While Albert Pujols' relationship with the Cards front office became strained during the negotiation process, things remain solid between the club and Wainwright. When asked if Wainwright’s talks had assumed an edge similar to Pujols’ in 2011, one party familiar with the process told Strauss, “Not even close. And I’d bet anything it won’t.”
The supposed break from talks allowed both sides to get out of giving daily progress reports to the press while also allowing the Cardinals to reevaluate their position. The Cards will either have to raise the average annual value of their offer or give in to Wainwright's request for a longer pact with a lower AAV. The 31-year-old, who has finished top three Cy Young Award balloting in two of his last three available seasons, is said to be seeking more than five years guaranteed.
Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio predicts Kyle Lohse will sign with either the Brewers or Rangers as one of five moves which will happen this spring (Insider subscription required). Bowden also sees extensions for Adam Wainwright and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Here's the other Senior Circuit news and notes from the first Sunday of Spring Training:
- Count the Phillies out as suitors for Lohse as GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is prepared to go with the staff he has in camp, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
- Lohse will only become of interest to the Cardinals if their rotation candidates aren't panning out during Spring Training, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman in a piece outlining six reasons why the Redbirds remain playoff contenders.
- One reason for the Cardinals making the postseason in three of the last four years is being ranked as one of the NL's top four teams in terms of innings pitched by the starting rotation, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold notes this year’s rotation is set to include four starters, beyond Wainwright, who combined have just one 190-inning season.
- The Mets could use catcher John Buck as trade bait once they promote Travis d'Arnaud in the opinion of ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, who cites the precedent of when David Wright took over at third base.
- Bill Madden of the New York Daily News cautions the Mets to be prudent with their newfound financial flexibility if they dive into next year's free agent outfield pool. Madden lists Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and Hunter Pence (all ranked in the top ten of MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings) as possible targets.
Here's a look at players and a manager who aren't looking to rush into a contract extension just yet…
- Jeff Samardzija turned down a five-year contract extension from the Cubs this offseason as he hopes to continue prove himself as a pitcher before focusing on financials, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "We were talking, and we both have the same interest in mind,” Samardzija said. "We both want me to be here and both want me to be part of this team for a long time. When we feel like we’re on the same page with that, we’ll get it done." The 2012 season marked Samardzija's first season in the starting rotation as he pitched to the tune of a 3.81 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
- Adam Wainwright has put contract negotiations on hold after holding court with the Cardinals for the past week, but that doesn't mean talks can't resume in the future, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It doesn’t mean that it’s over," Wainwright said. "The door is still open. It just didn’t work out right now."
- Robin Ventura turned down a one-year contract extension from the White Sox this offseason as he wants to take managing one year at a time, writes Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com. The former third baseman, who guided his squad to 85 wins in his first season as a manager, is entering the second year of a three-year contract.
The Tigers are showing a lot of faith in 22-year-old Bruce Rondon by making him the frontrunner for the closer role, but Detroit would be better served by having legitimate closing options to choose from, opines Dave Cameron of Fangraphs in a piece for ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). Developing your own closer rather than paying free agent prices for one is a good idea, but Cameron believes that the Tigers should probably have someone to hold down the fort while Rondon gains some big league experience. Here's more from the AL and NL Central..
- The Twins haven't completely ruled out free agent outfielder Scott Podsednik, but nothing is close to being imminent, writes Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. So far this offseason, the Twins have appeared to be the only club with serious interest in the veteran.
- A Twins official told Wolfson that there isn't much to the news of 41-year-old free-agent pitcher Jose Contreras was working out at the Twins' Fort Myers facility. When asked if it was meaningful or random, the official simply said, "Random."
- Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright says that extension talks won't derail him during spring training as they did five years ago, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. General Manager John Mozeliak hopes to work out a new contract with Wainwright by Opening Day while Wainwright says that he isn't setting a deadline for talks.
- Edwin Jackson is considered an important piece in the Cubs' rebuilding process, both as an experienced starter under contract through the projected turnaround years and in the short-term as support for the rotation in the event of a likely Matt Garza trade this year, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Angels' Vernon Wells has been a trade candidate for quite some time but a source tells Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter) that it is now "very likely" that he will start the season with the Halos. Those odds have increased even more now that Delmon Young landed in Philadelphia. Here's more from around baseball..
- Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro told reporters that they plan to use Young as their starting right fielder, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Young, who may not be available to start the season as he recovers from ankle surgery, has not played the position in six years.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says that he hopes to work out a new contract with Adam Wainwright by Opening Day, tweets ESPN.com's Jim Bowden. For his part, the pitcher says that he isn't setting a deadline for talks.
- The acquisition of Rafael Soriano caught Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard by surprise, but he isn't in a rut over not getting the chance to close in 2013, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
Hall of Fame and Cardinal icon Stan Musial passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Today, tributes are pouring in ranging from fans outside the Stan the Man statue at Busch Stadium (St. Louis Post-Dispatch video) to the White House (h/t MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch). Daniel Solzman of Redbirdrants.com even suggests the Cardinals name the playing field at Busch Stadium in honor of Musial. The Cardinals are holding their 17th annual fanfest this weekend and, while the Musial official memorabilia booth was closed today in tribute to the St. Louis legend, players still made their appearances and made some news.
- Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. says the club is prepared to increase payroll in the coming years, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold adds the 2013 payroll is around $115MM.
- Adam Wainwright, who is entering the final year of his contract, admitted the Cardinals approached him about a contract extension during the final month of this past regular season, Goold reports. Wainwright said he wanted to focus on the playoff stretch and "it wasn’t going to hurt my case to just wait it out and see where some of these guys signed."
- On the upcoming Wainwright extension talks, Goold, within the same piece, quoted GM John Mozeliak as saying, "It’s going to be long. It’s going to be expensive."
- Wainwright has become a mentor to pitching prospect Shelby Miller, Goold writes in a separate article. Miller, who will compete for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, says he doesn't know what he was thinking last offseason when he "was trying to be a beach bod" with his workout regimen. Miller's performance suffered and the club questioned the right-hander's conditioning. Enter Wainwright who exchanged texts with Miller throughout the season and challenged him to reach training camp at a weight that would help his strength and durability.
- While Miller has gained enough pounds to reach his playing weight, Jake Westbrook's outlook on the offseason is to copy last year's regimen in hopes of slimming down, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. "It worked out so well last year that I thought I would just do it again," Westbrook said.
- The injury reports on Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, and Rafael Furcal are positive, according to Langosch.
- Mozeliak says second base is Daniel Descalso's "job to lose," but he is open-minded about Matt Carpenter making a push for playing time there, writes Langosch.
- Mike Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he only became the Cardinals' manager because of losses he sustained in a failed real estate venture. A Missouri judge recently ruled Matheny and his wife owe more than $4MM from that deal plus interest and court costs. Matheny will earn $750K in the final guaranteed year of his contract.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Two years ago the Cardinals faced a Spring Training deadline during extension talks with Albert Pujols, but they won't face a similar deadline with their latest impending star free agent. Both GM John Mozeliak and Adam Wainwright confirmed a hard deadline will not be set for contract talks, report Joe Strauss of St. Louis Post-Dispatch and MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (Twitter links).
Wainwright, 31, told B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com (Twitter links) that the two sides engaged in contract talks last season and he was comfortable with the figures being discussed, saying he "liked where it was headed." The veteran right-hander pitched to a 3.94 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 198 2/3 innings last season after missing all of 2011 due to Tommy John surgery.
Wainwright will earn $12MM next season and is scheduled to become a free agent after the season. He is represented by Aegis Sports Management. The four-year, $68MM extension Josh Beckett signed with the Red Sox early in the 2010 season could serve as a reference point in talks.
The latest links from around MLB…
- Agent Steve Hammond told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he expects to speak with Cardinals executives about the possibility of an extension for right-hander Adam Wainwright in Spring Training. Wainwright’s entering the final year of his contract with the Cardinals. Goold heard leading up to the Winter Meetings that the sides have not held “substantive” talks this offseason.
- The Nationals made Adam LaRoche a two-year, $25MM contract offer, but they haven’t boosted their proposal, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post reports. It’s possible the Rangers or Orioles could get involved in the bidding for the free agent first baseman.
- Free agent reliever Chad Durbin is on his way to California to meet with interested teams, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). Durbin, 35, posted a 3.10 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 61 innings for the Braves this past season.
- Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com wonders if Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette will pursue free agent infielder Kelly Johnson. The Orioles have suggested they’re satisfied with internal second base options such as Brian Roberts, Alexi Casilla, Ryan Flaherty and Yamaico Navarro, but Dubroff suggests Johnson could be a “nice addition.”
Happy birthday to Cubs great Fergie Jenkins, who was born 70 years ago today in Chatham, Ontario. The 1971 NL Cy Young Award winner won 167 games in 10 years with the Cubs and wore the red 'C' into the Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1991.
Here are some items from Chicago and elsewhere around both the AL and NL Central divisions…
- The Braves don't have any interest in trading for Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Cubs are willing to pay $26MM of Soriano's remaining $36MM salary in a trade and have shopped the veteran to the Astros and Phillies this offseason.
- The White Sox would like to bring back A.J. Pierzynski but only at the team's price, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. While the team has kept in touch with Pierzynski's agent, the Sox are prepared to go ahead with Tyler Flowers as their everyday catcher.
- The Brewers can probably be counted out of the Mike Adams hunt, opines Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link) as the free agent reliever will likely be priced out of the Crew's range. At least seven other teams besides Milwaukee are known to be interested in Adams.
- Also from Haudricourt, he outlines how the Brewers have been historically unable to keep their major stars, a trend that may continue given the team's small local TV contract. The one exception was Ryan Braun, who was already on an eight-year contract when he signed his major extension with the Crew.
- We heard last month that the Royals were trying to trade Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that while the team will listen, they "feel no urgency" to move either pitcher. The Royals want a lot of rotation depth and could just put either Chen or Hochevar in the bullpen, though K.C. could also wait until March to find better trade offers. (All links to Dutton's Twitter account.)
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters (including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that his team is pretty much done its winter shopping, though he hinted that the Reds could add a left-handed reliever.
- As the cost of high-end pitching has risen, Adam Wainwright is in position to receive a huge payday as he enters the final year of his contract with the Cardinals, writes the Associated Press. Both Wainwright and the Cards are open to the idea of discussing a new contract before Opening Day.
- From earlier today, the Cubs and Tigers are the final two suitors for Anibal Sanchez. The Cubs thought they had Sanchez signed to a five-year, $75MM offer, but Sanchez is giving the Tigers a final chance to match or top the offer.
A few NL Central free agent targets were identified today, as the Brewers and Cubs are in on Jason Grilli among other relievers, the Pirates have expressed interest in John Lannan, and the Cardinals are in the mix for Scott Hairston. More from the division…
- The Cardinals met with Marco Scutaro's agent tonight, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Scutaro is represented by Barry Praver.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "In our minds, we’ve already made our big move with Russ." The Bucs signed Russell Martin for $17MM last week, but still have some work to do. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates have shown interest in five recently non-tendered pitchers: Manny Parra, Lannan, Tom Gorzelanny, Jair Jurrjens, and Mike Pelfrey.
- There have been no substantive talks between the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright about an extension, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals, of course, still remain interested in doing an extension with the 31-year-old before his contract season officially begins.
- Most of the quality lefty relievers are likely to be signed by week's end, suggested Cardinals GM John Mozeliak (B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest reporting).
- The Cardinals and infielder Skip Schumaker are open to a trade, reports Rains, but of course it'd have to make sense for the team.
- The pressure of last summer's contract extension talks affected the performance of Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, agent Paul Kinzer told Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. The 22-year-old can rest easy now that he's under contract through at least 2019.
- The Cubs remain popular with free agents, president Theo Epstein told reporters including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The team is looking to get creative at third base and will continue to monitor the available starting pitchers (and presumably relievers). Epstein suggested the Cubs have interest in some recently non-tendered players.