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Mozeliak: No lines drawn in the sand by Wainwright

1:57 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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(KSDK Sports) -- While negotiations between the St. Louis Cardinals and right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright have slowed down, it was confirmed Wednesday that no deadline has been set by either party.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Monday that they do still hope to get an extension worked out.

"I think we have plenty of time to still work on this," he said. "Neither party is drawing any lines in the sand and I think the fact that we're communicating is encouraging."

Wainwright, who will be 32 at the end of his current contract, is owed a total of $12 million this season. To get an extension done before the regular season would be to the benefit of the Cardinals because on the open market Wainwright could draw upwards of $20 million per year.

After the season the Cardinals would only have a brief five-day window to work out a deal before Wainwright would officially become a free agent and be eligible for talks with other teams.

Mozeliak declined to speculate as to whether he believed if a deal was not in place by Opening Day, that Wainwright would go to market. He said the two parties have not had that conversation.

He did say that he knows how negotiations can be distracting to players.

"I don't want the season to be a distraction for any pitcher or any player for that matter," Mozeliak said. "As time unfolds, maybe I can answer that a little better, but right now I'm not overly concerned about it."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny also weighed in on the subject and said that negotiations like these are just part of the game for some players. While every player deals with it differently, Matheny said that any player who reaches free agency should be grateful to have played that long.

"Adam so far has said all of the right things," he said. "As we have had conversations, I've just encouraged him to also enjoy that process because not everyone has a career long enough where you're in conversations like that."

Wainwright, who is now two years removed from Tommy John surgery during spring training 2011, seemed to improve throughout 2012 during his recovery.

Despite a shaky start, he ended the season with three complete games and two shutouts.

He may have to exercise similar perseverance again in 2013 if a deal
isn't in place in the next few weeks.

"You've got to compartmentalize, just like the rest of us do, with the different things that go on in life," Matheny said. "We've got a job to do out here and we do it with the responsibility towards doing everything you can under your control. Some of the stuff on the outside you just deal with the best you can."

Wainwright finished 2012 with a 14-13 record and a 3.94 ERA. He pitched a solid 213.2 innings (including the postseason) and struck out 184 of the batters he faced.

While not signing an extension prior to the season would carry certain risks for Wainwright, with another offseason under his belt, he could stand to increase his value even further in 2013.

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