During this past season the St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright began discussing parameters for a contract extension, considering the 31 year old is slated to reach free agency at the end of the 2013 season. While there are no indications that a deal is close, Wainwright has made it clear to a number of the St. Louis beat reporters, including Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com, that he won’t be setting any hard deadlines (i.e. before the start of Spring Training or the Regular Season) with the team for talks as he sounds optimistic that a deal can be reached. It sounds as though the two sides were “getting close” on the value of a potential deal and Wainwright “liked where things were heading” early on in those talks.
The 6’7” right-hander returned to action this past season after missing all of 2011 to Tommy John surgery. He posted a 14-13 mark with a 3.94 ERA over 32 starts (198.2 IP), adding 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Those marks were largely in line with his career averages, giving little indication that he was slowed due to any lingering effects from the injury.
Wainwright is slated to earn $12 Million in 2013, the final year of a contract extension he signed with the Cardinals during Spring Training before the 2008 season.
While it’s unclear where the two sides are in terms of figures for a possible extension, one possible basis for comparison could be the four year, $68 Million extension that the Boston Red Sox agreed to with Josh Beckett prior to the 2010 season, as Mike Axisa suggests at MLBTR. Beckett went a combined 80-42 with a 3.92 ERA and 1.200 WHIP over the five seasons leading up to his contract extension. Wainwright is 78-47 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.215 WHIP over a similar span. The injury history is certainly a concern to keep in mind and Wainwright is a year older than Beckett was at the time he signed his deal, but it would appear (at least on its surface) that Beckett could be a good comp for Wainwright’s representatives to work with. Depending on how much the Cardinals value re-signing their ace a deal could reach anywhere from $60-75 Million over four years.