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Wainwright, Kershaw discuss contract extension deadlines

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer
Adam Wainwright (left) and Clayton Kershaw (right). (US Presswire)

Felix Hernandez wrapped up his new seven-year, $175 million contract with the Mariners on Tuesday, meaning one fewer ace-caliber pitcher will be hitting the free agent market in the coming years. If the Cardinals and Dodgers have their way, two more aces will be off the market relatively soon.

RELATED -- Justin Verlander will want to top Felix's deal

The Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have talked about a long-term contract within the past week, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. They decided to put talks on hold, but the right-hander said that "doesn't mean that it's over. The door is still open. It just didn't work out right now."

GM John Mozeliak said it was "not an active negotiation," and added: "There is still a lot of time. There are no deadlines in place. There's still plenty of room and lots of opportunity. The process has been professional. Both sides remain open to discussions, and they could continue at any time."

Wainwright, 31, will earn $12 million this year and is scheduled to become a free agent after the season. He went 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA last summer after missing the entire 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery. Given his age and recent arm injury, it's unlikely he'll be able to secure a contract on par with Hernandez's. Nine figures appears doable, though.

Meanwhile, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw still have not opened negotiations about a long-term contract. “I don't think I'm going to let it go into the season,” said the left-hander, indicating an opening day deadline for talks. “For me, that's really my concern at this point, getting ready for April 1."

Kershaw, 24, will earn $11 million this year and remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2014. He can become a free agent following that season. Kershaw has gone 35-14 with a 2.40 ERA over the last two years, winning the 2011 NL Cy Young Award. He's younger than Felix and arguably better, giving him the best shot at becoming baseball's first $200 million pitcher.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook. Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: @MattSnyder27, @daynperry and @mikeaxisa.

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