During his annual, and often informal, session with fans at the Winter Warm-Up, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak fielded a question about ace Adam Wainwright and the righty's expiring contract.

He replied with general parameters – and candor.

"It's going to be long," he said. "It's going to be expensive."

It is also going to be talked about soon.

Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals both said Saturday, the first day of the 17th annual fanfest in downtown St. Louis, that discussions about an extension are expected to spark in the coming weeks as the team prepares to report for spring training. Wainwright declined to set a deadline for an agreement, offering the team instead a more flexible timetable than, for example, the one set by Albert Pujols two years ago in the same situation. Pujols told the club the moment he arrived at spring training negotiations ceased.

"It's a little more open-ended," Mozeliak said. "It doesn't look like we've had any dialogue to this point (with) any lines drawn in the sand. We'll see the next four weeks and see where we go."

Wainwright, 31, is entering the final year of a contract that will have paid him $36 million over six years. He signed that extension during spring training of 2008 and later acknowledged the talks started to distract him from his preparation.

He's not worried about that this time.

"I'm in a different place now," Wainwright explained Saturday. "The first contract is real important to players (to) get some security, peace of mind. It was all a new thing for me. Those kind of things I was worried about back then, I don't really worry about those any more."