Cardinals rumors: St. Louis can afford Adam Wainwright

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals can afford extending right-hander Adam Wainwright, but should they?

The St. Louis Cardinals can afford extending right-hander Adam Wainwright, according to Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Miklasz says the pending influx of cash - at least $24 million - all 30 MLB teams will receive with the new national TV deal and St. Louis' recent payroll discipline will afford them the ability to extend Wainwright.

The Cardinals have $54 million in guaranteed payroll commitment on the books for 2014, then $44 million in 2015, and only $31 million (2016) and $15.2 million (2017) in subsequent seasons, according to Miklasz.

While the payroll flexibility is there, St. Louis will have to determine the value of Wainwright. Miklasz believes it will take in the neighborhood of a five-year commitment at $20 million-plus per season to lock up the 31-year-old.

Time to make this decision is running out, as Wainwright is entering the final season of his current six-year, $59.4 million contract. This expiring deal will pay him $12 million in 2013.

Wainwright returned from injury last season to start 32 games for the Cardinals. Over 198 2/3 innings, the right-hander maintained an ERA of 3.94.

Wainwright owns a career ERA of 3.15 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio (SO/BB) of 3.02, and he maintained a 2.53 ERA with 3.48 SO/BB during the 2009-10 seasons.

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