The Cardinals and Adam Wainwright’s representative engaged in preliminary talks about an extension for the righthander within the past week but as a result have decided to put negotiations on hold, both sides confirmed Tuesday.
Wainwright cautioned that “on hold” shouldn’t be misread as an end.

“It doesn’t mean that it’s over,” the Cardinals’ ace said after the team’s first official workout for pitchers and catchers Tuesday at their spring training complex. “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.”

Wainwright, 31, is entering the final year of a contract that was worth $36 million over six seasons, and both the Cardinals and the pitcher have stated an interest in discussing an extension this spring, one that could carry Wainwright to the end of his career.

Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. reiterated Tuesday the organization’s interest in pursuing an extension with Wainwright before he reaches free agency. The pause in discussions doesn’t change the club’s optimism.

“He is a significant part of the organization, has been for many years, and is an important presence to have on a (pitching) 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.”

This is the third consecutive spring that the Cardinals have reached spring training with a core player entering his walk season. In 2011, three-time MVP Albert Pujols and the Cardinals couldn’t come to an agreement before spring and he announced that he would test free agency, a path that took him to the Los Angeles Angels. A year ago, catcher Yadier Molina and the club negotiated a five-year, $75 million extension during spring training that kept the Gold Glove Award-winner from becoming a free agent this past winter.