Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal not only doubts that the Cardinals will re-sign starting pitcher Kyle Lohse when his current contract expires. He has also predicted that the Birds are unlikely to ink Adam Wainwright to a new deal.
I unfortunately agree on Lohse. But I disagree with his reasoning that the Redbirds don't need Wainwright because of their strong crop of young pitchers.
Hopefully the Cardinals will be able to round out their rotation with the likes of Shelby Miller, Joe Kelley, Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez in the next couple of years. But you can't build a rotation entirely of kids and expect to be successful and competitive. The club still needs a veteran presence at the front of the rotation and someone who can be a legitimate ace.
The problem the Redbirds are likely to face with Wainwright is his age vs. how many years he wants in a deal. Wainwright will be 32 when his new contract takes effect, which is the back side of his prime. A four-year deal is probably reasonable. But if Wainwright holds out for a six-year contract, he's probably going to end up someplace else.
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I think it would be reasonable for the Cardinals to offer Wainwright a four-year deal for about $60 million with a vesting option that would make it a five-year deal if he wins the Cy Young Award or pitches 200 innings in each of the first four years of the deal.
I'm optimistic Wainwright will be realistic. He seems to be content that the Cardinals have treated him and his mentor Chris Carpenter well and he seems to believe that he has as good of a chance to win in St. Louis as anywhere.
If I have one fear about Wainwright defecting it would be that he would want to play close to home with Atlanta. Wainwright, a Georgia native, was an Atlanta farmhand before the Birds traded for him in the JD Drew swap. There is also some speculation that former St. Louis GM Walt Jocketty would try to bring Waino to Cincinnati if he hits the market. But I wonder not only if Wainwright could stomach that move, but also if the Reds could afford him since they just doled out way too much money for Joey Votto and and Brandon Phillips -- yet their still averaging mid 20,000s crowds despite being in first place for most of the season.
I sure hope the Cardinals find a way to keep Wainwright in the fold -- especially if Carpenter retires. He's the heir to a long string of high class veteran starters the Cardinals have had from Darryl Kile to Woody Williams to Carpenter and now Wainwright.