As has already been reported, Adam Wainwright will return to the St. Louis Cardinals next season for his 18th and final season.
Wainwright avoided the question of whether he’d return or not all season long as fellow teammates Yadier Molina & Albert Pujols were having their farewell tour.
On Wednesday, the 41-year old starting pitcher agreed to a 1-year deal with the Cardinals for $17.5M. He will earn $7.5M next season and defer the other $10M with a chance to earn $1M in bonuses.
The deal includes $1 million payable each July 1 from 2024-33 and the chance to earn $500,000 each for 28 and 30 starts.
He also receives a full no-trade clause and a hotel suite on road trips. He would earn $500,000 for finishing among the top 10 in Cy Cy Young Award voting, $50,000 each for making the All-Star team, winning the Leaguue Championship Series or World Series MVP awards or a Gold Glove, and $25,000 for a SIlver Slugger
Wainwright’s 2022 contract was also a 1-year contract totaling $17.5M
Currently, Adam is sitting at 195 career wins and will look to get to 200 in 2023. He is 15 wins behind Jesse Haines for 2nd All-Time in franchise history. Bob Gibson sits atop with 251. He’s also currently 3rd All-Time in starts (11 behind Bob Forsch for 2nd, Gibson at 482.) and 2nd in strikeouts with 2,147 behind Gibby at 3,117. The next closest is Dizzy Dean’s 1,095 & Chris Carpenter’s 1,085. Wainwright has faced 10,632 batters while wearing the Birds on a Bat.
Waino finished his 2022 campaign with an 11-12 record, 3.71 ERA in 32 starts, and both he and John Mozeliak feels there’s “more in the tank” despite the season not ending like Adam would’ve hoped. He cited dead arm & mechanical issues in his delivery after a bruised knee towards the end of the regular season, but feels that shouldn’t be an issue going forward.
Unsure of his desire to pitch beyond this past season, Adam didn’t partake in the Pujols/Molina farewell tour, although at times accepted retirement gifts on Molina’s behalf. The other two announced during preseason that this would be their last.
During a meeting with the press, Wainwright stated “It just kind of feels like, looking back on it now, that everything that happened happened to lead me back for one more year,” Wainwright said. “We’ve got some unfinished business, you know? If I tell you it’s the last one, am I going to have to go through a bunch of stuff? My main focus to play this year is to win and to help this team win. Anything that distracts from that is not wanted. Yes, this will be the last one. Just everybody relax. Let me pitch. Let me go out and perform. Don’t freak out about it every single day, and let’s see what happens.”
Wainwright will join the Cardinals 2023 rotation which currently includes Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas & Jordan Montgomery with Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson and others in the mix as well. John Mozeliak also mentioned during the presser that the organization would also be looking to add pitching in the offseason.
We are excited that Waino will be on the mound again in 2023 and while the personal accolades of his legendary Cardinals career are in and of themselves impressive, we are just as excited to see Adam go out with something to prove and a chance to end his career on a high note.