Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in his season-ending press conference today that the team is attempting to work out a new deal with veteran righty Adam Wainwright. It seems Wainwright wishes to return to the fold and that the Cards would like to have him.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, given Wainwright’s strong bounceback showing in 2019. MLBTR predicted just yesterday that he’d return again to the St. Louis organization — with the only real doubt being whether he’d decide to suit up once more at 38 years of age.
Mozeliak indicated that there isn’t a deal in place at present, but discussions are expected to take place over the next week or two, with the hope being that the sides will line up for yet another campaign. That’d mark a 15th big league season for Wainwright, who has spent his entire Major League tenure with the Cardinals. The three-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young runner-up has amassed 2103 2/3 innings along the way and pitched to a 3.39 ERA with averages of 7.6 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings pitched. He’s also given the Cards 105 2/3 innings of postseason work, notching a 2.81 ERA in that time.
While there was some question at the end of the 2018 season as to whether Wainwright had much of anything left in the tank, he once again proved his mettle with a solid 2019 campaign. The elder statesman of the St. Louis rotation logged 171 2/3 frames — his most since 2016 — and worked to a 4.19 ERA with a 153-to-64 K/BB ratio.
Wainwright may not be the staff ace that he once was, but the Cards no longer need him to function in that capacity (not that they’d complain about an unexpected return to 2009-10 form). Rather, burgeoning star Jack Flaherty has stepped up as the staff leader alongside the durable Miles Mikolas and another up-and-coming righty, Dakota Hudson. Assuming a new deal with Wainwright does indeed come to fruition, that he’ll join that trio and perhaps Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes or an outside addition in rounding out the Cardinals’ starting staff next season.
Another one-year arrangement seems likely, given Wainwright’s age, but he’ll surely be in line for a larger base salary than the modest $2MM he took on last year’s “prove-it” deal. Wainwright ultimately maxed out his incentives package and took home a $10MM total — and something closer to that range seems more plausible this time around.