STL Cardinals shouldn’t guarantee Adam Wainwright much money

I’m a huge fan of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright.

I think he brings a lot more than just his talents on the field into the picture as a member of the Cardinals roster in 2020. But I’m starting to wonder, given the team’s tight payroll situation, if keeping the veteran was a better emotional decision than a logical one.

The team is said to be negotiating a one-year deal with his longtime squad after a rebound season in 2019. But if it’s true that Wainwright wants more guaranteed money than he got last year, it’s going to put the team in a bad spot when it comes. to fill in the rest of the list. Last year, the much-injured Right accepted a $2 million surety with another eight million dollars in incentives. This made sense because if he couldn’t perform, the team had limited liability. If he did, he would get a good salary. I wouldn’t have any problem with that if Wainwright agreed to the same terms for next season. In fact, I wouldn’t complain if he asked for $3 million in a guaranteed salary and nine million dollars in incentives.

But giving a pitcher who’s averaged 112 home runs and 20 home runs a year over the past five seasons $10-12 million in guaranteed money seems a little risky – especially when the team has questions in other areas of its roster it won won’t be able to address. Whether he sticks too much to Waino.

Don’t get me wrong – I want Adam Wainwright to play for the Cardinals next year. But the team has paid the pitcher more than $137 million over his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Does he really need another big payday? If Wainwright wants another crack at playing in the World Series with St. Louis, he’d be better off telling them he’ll pay less so he can build a stronger roster around him. Team president Bill DeWitt Jr. said during the end-of-season press conference that the payroll won’t go up much – if anything – than it did last year. With the inline increases of Paul Goldschmidt, Colten Wong, Matt Carpenter, and Miles Mikolas, the team will basically break even though parting ways with Michael Wacha and others, there’s no way to keep the budget, pay Wainwright and improve on the team’s weaknesses.

All that said, is it right for the Cardinals to insist on keeping the line on payroll in the low $160 million range, about $40 million below the competitive credit tax threshold? St. Louis ranked second in Major League Baseball attendance last year, the team has a lucrative local television deal and the team has seen significant increases in its national television revenue – as have other teams across MLB – in recent years. DeWitt says shoddy contracts are still financial obligations that the team must meet. This is certainly true. But that doesn’t explain how the Birds are supposed to compete against National League Central rivals the Chicago Cubs, and their $207 million payroll handcuffs them to a $45 million lower artificial cap. Before responding that St. Louis finished better than the Cubs in 2019, look back at the previous three seasons.

If the payroll was written in stone, it wouldn’t be a better idea to invest in a player with a shelf life longer than a 38-year-old pitcher with 2,103 innings, an Achilles injury, Tommy John surgery, and countless other innings. Health issues from all the wear and tear he’s put his right arm through? Marcell Ozuna does not have the Cardinals record that Waino has. But he’s almost a decade younger and still in his prime. Meanwhile, the Cardinals get a clear benefit from signing Ozuna because he’s a productive cleanup. Wainwright isn’t exactly solving the team’s health issues for his starting rotation. Not only is he a question mark regarding durability, but fellow rookies Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez aren’t exactly pillars of consistency either.

As much as I want Wainwright back in the fold, I would hate to see the great season he forgot last year with the bitter feelings that will come from his third-place finish due to injury in his final run in the National League.

Get smart about these cardinals. Waino wants to finish his career in St. Louis with fellow Battery Yadier Molina. I find it unlikely to play anywhere else. So do not exaggerate the guaranteed contract. Create another contract full of incentives that allows him to play while not restricting the team from fixing his other loopholes.

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What is this blog?

Scott Wirts is a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cheap Seats blog is written from his point of view as a fan and is designed to spark discussion among fans of the Cardinals and other MLB teams. The sources corroborating his views and opinions are interconnected. If you’re looking for Cardinals news and features, check out the Cardinals section of BND.

Scott Worz has written Cheap Seats, a St. Louis Cardinals fan blog for the Belleville News-Democrat, since 2007. He is a former correspondent for BND who has covered breaking news and education.

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