St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright pauses on the mound during the second inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The Kansas City Royals “have shown interest” in veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

However, Morosi added that the Royals “don’t appear to be frontrunners” for Wainwright’s signature.

Kansas City has one thing working in its favor since new manager Mike Matheny coached the three-time All-Star for seven seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wainwright started his career with the Atlanta Braves but was traded to the Cardinals in 2003 as part of the J.D. Drew deal before making his MLB debut. His 326 starts for St. Louis are the fourth-most in franchise history.

It doesn’t appear Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak is in a hurry to bring the 39-year-old back, though. The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reported Dec. 9 that St. Louis would like to have Wainwright going forward but is also keeping a tight focus on its payroll.

According to Saxon, Wainwright is “believed to be seeking” a one-year contract that might be incentive-laden rather than guaranteeing him the biggest payout possible. If that’s the case, then he’d make sense for any team with eyes on a playoff run.

The two-time Cy Young runner-up went 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 4.10 FIP over 10 starts in 2020. He was also 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA and 4.36 FIP in 2019. Wainwright is obviously no longer at his peak but can contribute in the middle or back end of the rotation.

The Royals are a somewhat surprising suitor since they don’t seem to be a strong contender on paper. They figure to be the third-best team in their own division behind the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox. Cleveland might be able to wring another postseason run out of its current roster as well despite its efforts to cut payroll.

Kansas City has, however, signed Mike Minor and Carlos Santana. Although those weren’t transformative additions, they point to a team that wishes to do more than bottom out in 2021.

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