It was reported last week that the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright were "not close" in their discussions of a long-term extension, but that things were amicable and talks would continue into the season if necessary.
Though the two sides have taken a temporary "pause" in extension talks -- at least that's what they're telling reporters -- it is still "plausible" that a deal will be worked out before Opening Day, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Wainwright and the Cardinals recently have had little to say publicly about his status for the moment. Both parties have advertised a "pause" in talks.
In reality, lines of communication are open; conversations continue to occur. Gravity continues to pull the two together...
Both sides believe a deal plausible before opening day.
Wainwright is reportedly in the market for a deal that will guarantee upwards of five more seasons in St. Louis. While the Cardinals are considering all options at this point, they would prefer to give Waino a shorter term deal with a higher annual average value so they can do their best to avoid a repeat of the Chris Carpenter situation.
Strauss admits that there is the potential for friction between the two sides with regards to Wainwright's asking price, but at the moment the discussions bear no resemblance to the doomed Albert Pujols talks of 2011.
Related: No Carpenter, No Lohse, No Problem?
Wainwright, 31, is coming to the end of a six-year, $36 million contract with the Redbirds. The right-hander missed all of the 2011 season because of Tommy John surgery but came back strong last season, posting a 3.94 ERA and 3.54 K/BB.
Fans worried about a post-TJ decline should abate their fears. While his 2012 earned-run average bears little resemblance to his stellar under-3.00 ERAs of 2009 and 2010, it is more a function of bad luck than a drop in performance. Wainwright's strikeout, walk, and home run rates were right in line with his career bests, he just fell victim to a .320 BABIP against on the season.