I was surprised to see that a mass majority of responders to my most recent Twitter poll said that the Cardinals should hang on to Adam Wainwright and try to re-sign him in the offseason rather than try to trade him at the deadline.

In fact, the response was mostly adamant.  Few would even consider doing such a thing.  But I put that question in particular out there for a reason, and here’s why.

First of all, there are a ton of pitchers less than or equal to Wainwright getting gigantic contracts, and his agent will be expecting something comparable come negotiation time.  (Which is why they’ve put off contract talks.)  This is going to jack up the price of keeping him significantly high, most likely to the point where a return to the Cards won’t be feasible.

Second of all, the Cardinals might not even need him; certainly not so badly that they have to give him $100 million.  Remember that Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly will all either be a bottom-of-the-rotation starter or in the bullpen this year.  Not to mention Carlos Martinez, Tyrell Jenkins and John Gast aren’t far behind.  Those are a lot of reasons to let Wainwright go and actually get something out of it.

Looking at the contracts guys like Matt Cain, Jake Peavy, Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez have gotten, I don’t think there’s any doubt the Cards are looking down the barrel of a five-year contract at or close to $20 mill a year.  To me, that is way too expensive when there are so many young alternatives who have done a good job proving themselves.

We’ll see what the numbers look like once both sides start negotiating in Spring Training, but I have a strong feeling the demands will be too high, and the Cards would be better off getting four months out of him before trading him for some big-time talent and turning his rotation spot over to one of the young studs mentioned above.

Maybe I’m wrong.  (A lot of people seem to think so.)  And if I am, hit me up @elmaquino.  As always with Twitter poll questions, I’ll RT your response.

The Cards got Ty Wigginton a couple days ago.  I certainly can’t justify it.  Two years and $5 million for a guy who is for all intents and purposes a DH with mild power and won’t do much for the Cards besides pinch-hit.

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  1. ToniferJames says :

    It’s not a ridiculous thing to consider, but I do have a few viewpoints on this issue (none of which are take into consideration that he’s my favorite player in baseball).

    Review the other good / potentially good starting pitchers you’ve listed above. I understand I may have an antiquated idea of how a team is to be managed, but is there not benefit in having a guy in the rotation who has ‘done it before’?

    A veteran presence is almost universally accepted as helpful when it comes to starting pitchers. Jaime Garcia is not that. Carpenters arm could fall off at any moment… amiright? Team chemistry does matter. I have always believed that. The 2011 team showed us that.

    If the team is awful this summer, I can see it being considered. But I have a feeling the fan base would get the sense that the roster was being gutted if he did get traded. It’s also not in line with what I’ve seen out of the Cardinals in the last few years.

    If you’re worried about him slumping post-TJ, I encourage patience. I also point to him previously favoring security over short-term wealth. I know he has kids here and roots and that’s not been a deterrent for leaving for some players, but I still believe there are guys in this world who would stay at an organization like St. Louis over chasing the dollar. We’ve all been wrong about it before, but it never hurts to be an optimist.

    Nice article, cool to get an outside-the-box viewpoint on Wainwright. It’s a compelling idea, but I’d be surprised if a trade happened.

    • elmaquino says :

      I’m all for taking the veteran safe bet over the somewhat unknown quantity, but not at $100 million and not when you have several likely top-shelf quantities in waiting who would be playing almost for free.

      The Cards have indicated that they will try pretty hard to get a deal done with Wainwright, so I too doubt a trade will happen unless the numbers discussed in Spring Training are so high that they realize they won’t be able to retain him and instead try to get something out of him before he leaves. And even then, they’ll probably hold onto him if the playoff race is even remotely close.

      It probably won’t happen, but if I were in charge, I would give it serious consideration. You can get a ton for Wainwright and it’s not like there’s no one to replace him.

  2. breakingwi says :

    As the previous commenter said, there’s certainly a value of having a veteran presence in the rotation, but not at the cost of 5+ years and $100+ million. Had Wainwright not gone down for all of ’11 and/or had a better season in ’12, he MIGHT be worth that. But plenty of pitchers worse than Wainwright have been getting that kind of money, so he appears to be next in line.

    But then, if Wainwright goes, that leaves Westbrook as the veteran presence (unless Carpenter finds a way to stay healthy). Don’t know how safe that would be.

    • elmaquino says :

      I believe a team’s goal should be able to get the best value that they can. That is, among all available options, they should strive to find the best possible balance between price and talent. If a guy has done it before and can help the rest of your staff improve with his know-how, then maybe you consider giving him a little more.

      But like you said, $100 mill over five years is not “a little more.” Chris Carpenter and Jake Westbrook have been starters much longer than Wainwright has, and even if veteran presence is that important, the team will not be without it for the next two years.

  3. Ray DeRousse says :

    Succinctly put. I do, of course, agree with you completely.

  4. Commenter says :

    “He’s a COLD-hearted SNAKE, LOOK into his EYES…”

  5. elmaquino says :


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