What will Grienke deal mean for Wainwright?

Posted by Scott Wuerz on December 9, 2012 

I still hope the Cardinals will make a move to sign Adam Wainwright before he hits the open market at the end of the 2013 season.

Like Albert Pujols flew out of the Redbirds' reach when the stupid money started to fly around, it's hard to imagine the team could be the highest bidder if Adam Wainwright's contract runs out before it can be extended.

That's especially evident with the contract Zack Greinke signed Saturday with the Dodgers. The former Royals, Brewers and Angels hurler got $147 million over six years from a team so reckless with its money that it gladly took the questionable contracts of Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford off other teams' books on a lark.

The new wave of local television contracts that funded the Angels' bid for Pujols have given a handful of large market teams the bucks to overwhelm the middle market clubs. And, like with Pujols, the Redbirds sat around and did nothing while the market was reshaped with a huge new target contract.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, the one place Wainwright would likely be motivated to jump to from St. Louis, Atlanta, doesn't exactly have a lot of money to throw around. 

The Braves are stuck in a very stingy long term television deal that limits their financial flexibility more than teams from much smaller markets. With a payroll range of $84 million to $94 million over the last three years, Atlanta has $57 million committed to the books for 2013. While they've only got about $29 million committed for 2014, it's tough to imagine that Atlanta will spend $20 million or more a year on a single pitcher. Especially in the sort of deal that the big money boys are currently throwing around that calls for players to be paid well past the time that they're expected to be in their prime.

But the Angels will be looking for front line pitching. The Rangers, snubbed yet again by a top starter they tried to entice with a pile of cash, will be reloaded in their bid to find an ace. Boston is looking to make a big splash after an awful year in 2012. And then the Mets and Yankees are always out there with a big checkbook.

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