1 Card Pickup

by on February 24, 2011 · 20 comments

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the news about Adam Wainwright.  You’ve probably also heard that Adam’s contract includes a few interesting tidbits that weren’t really talked about a lot until recently.

  • His 2012 and 2013 options are guaranteed with a top 5 finish in either the 2010 or 2011 Cy Young vote.  He met this condition November 16th, 2010.  Check.
  • The team must exercise the 2012 and 2013 options simultaneously.  Suhweet! 
  • The “guaranteed options” go out the window, if he finishes 2011 on the  disabled list.  Oh no, Yogi!

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s $9M for 2012 and $12M for 2013 for the guy who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past 2 seasons. 

Would the Cardinals really consider declining the option on Waino in hopes of negotiating a lower base salary?  Of course they would.  I wouldn’t put anything past them at this point.  I just don’t think it’s wise to risk Waino packing up his toys and leaving the Stl. sandbox. 

Do I have a different suggestion?  You bet.  Pick up the options.  Right the heck now.  It’s a classy move, and it’s a vote of confidence.  It also sends a message to “The Franchise” (Albert Pujols) that your management team is big on loyalty.  Is it a big risk to gamble $21M on Waino’s return?  Maybe.  If the Cardinals don’t do it, then somebody will, though.  Over 70% of elite pitchers who have Tommy John surgery return to 100% after a full recovery and rehabilitation, and the Cardinals know this better than anyone.     

Also, keep in mind that Adam has been just as big a bargain over the past few years as Pujols.  The Cardinals paid out $2,787,500 in 2009 and $4,837,500 in 2010 for a top 3 Cy Young candidate.  Heck, the closer on the 2006 World Series championship team was a rookie who made $327,000.  Talk about a bargain.   

So, I’m curious to see how the team handles this one.  Waino is just 29, and there is no way he should be wearing anything but the Birds on the Bat after 2011.  Let’s get this done.  I challenge the Cardinals to game.  I call it “1 Card Pickup”.  It’s their move.

TIDBIT:  I may be wrong about Adam being just as big a bargain as Pujols.  He may have been a bigger bargain.  Consider Waino’s 6.0 and 5.7 WAR in 2009 and 2010 respectively.  Albert compiled a 9.2 and 7.2 WAR for the same years, but he was paid over $29M during the same period. 

MORE BITS OF TID:  While the team is at it, why not give Adam a long-term deal that is contingent on his health?  Avoid a repeat of #Albertageddon?  Yes, please.

Like it?  Enjoy a good game of “52 Card Pickup”?  Follow gr33nazn on Twitter, and we’ll play the at-home version of “1 Card Pickup”!

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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