Adam Wainwright inked a five-year, $97.5 million contract extension with the Cardinals last March, just eight months from what would have been his first brush with the free agent market. That deal looks like an absolute bargain for the Cards in the wake of the seven-year, $215 million pact that Clayton Kershaw signed last week with the Dodgers, but Wainwright has no regrets about the particular course he took.
The ace right-hander spoke to fans and reporters Saturday at the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warmup at a downtown St. Louis hotel. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch collected the money quotes:
“Heck no. No. Not at all,” Wainwright said when asked if the $215 million Kershaw deal left him envious. “I’m happy for him. Absolutely not. I was so happy to go into this offseason and not have to worry about being a free agent. I’m right where I want to be. People ask me the same thing about the deal I signed before. Do you have any regrets about signing the deal early? I have no regrets. Once I signed that deal, that was the deal I wanted to sign. I didn’t have to sign it. We worked to get to a number where I felt made it fair for both sides. This is where I wanted to be. Do I think I could have made more money on the free agent market? Absolutely. … But you can’t buy happiness. I’m not going to be happier anywhere else than where I am right now.”
“I have got two rings already,” the 32-year-old Wainwright concluded. “Great memories here. My favorite color is red now. I just feel like I bleed Cardinal red. There is no other color I want to wear.”
Waino had a 2.94 ERA and 219 strikeouts in a league-high 241 2/3 innings last season.
He then made five postseason starts for the National League champions.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.