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Wainwright anxious in contract talks with Cardinals

The SportsXchange

The Cardinals and right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright hoped to get a contract extension done during spring training but talks have been put on hold. They're not necessarily off, as Wainwright cautioned, "It doesn't mean that it's over.

"The doors are still open. It just didn't work out right now. All that means is we couldn't come to a number that worked for both sides as of yet," said Wainwright."

Wainwright, 31, is entering the final year of a six-year, $36 million contract and chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. reiterated the organization's interest in pursuing an extension with Wainwright before he reaches free agency after this season.

"He is a significant part of the organization, has been for many years, and is an important presence to have on a staff," DeWitt said. "We have been successful when it comes to retaining our core players. That is something that we have made an emphasis. Deals of this magnitude aren't supposed to be easy to finalize."

Although Wainwright, the leader of the pitching staff now that righthander Chris Carpenter is down for the season with more nerve problems affecting his right arm, has not given the Cardinals a deadline, he did use the word "urgency."

"I think, especially from my side of it, there needs to be some urgency just so this thing doesn't drag on," Wainwright said. "If you want to do a deal, then let's get it done. It's not a peace of mind in the sense of going out to the mound wondering if this is the day it's going to happen or not. It's more like this: Are we going to do it or not do it?"

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, seemingly unworried, said, "There is still a lot of time. There are no deadlines in place. There's still plenty of room and lots of opportunity for something to happen. Both sides remain open to discussions, and they could continue at any time."

The Cardinals know that to complete a deal with Wainwright it will probably take the highest average annual salary the club has ever paid a pitcher, most likely in the $20 million a year. No further discussions were scheduled, but they were expected, much like when talks over catcher Yadier Molina's contract stalled last spring and then Molina agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal nine days later.

"No hard feelings and it's not over," Wainwright said. "Isn't that part of the negotiating process? If you come out and get a deal done within the first 10 minutes of negotiating, that's pretty weird. I don't think there is reason for alarm."

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