St. Louis Cardinals: A Future For Adam Wainwright In The Bullpen
By Trevor Hooth
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright was once one of the best in the league, but he is not who he used to be.
It is not a secret that Adam Wainwright had his struggles last year, and thus far this year. In fact, he has not recorded an out for the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning of his starts this season. Age has hit him like a brick wall.
At 35 years old, he seems to have lost the ability to be the dominant pitcher he was just a few years ago. He has faced a decline that I focused on in an article that can be found here.
Seeing a former ace take his inevitable fall from grace is not fun to watch. In the case of Wainwright it has happened rather quickly. While he is still loved by fans, he is equally as frustrating at this point of his career.
The only problem for the organization with the solution for Wainwright is that there is a starter spot to fill. With the diagnosis of a torn UCL to top prospect Alex Reyes, the St. Louis Cardinals are already running thin on MLB-ready starting pitching. That poses a huge issue in replacing Waino in the rotation.
Luke Weaver is one of the first names to come to mind, however in his first start at Triple-A, he left after just two innings with a finger injury. He was placed on the seven-day disabled list. He will be back soon, but based on the injury he will need to be monitored to see how he recovers.
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So who else? Tyler Lyons poses an option. While Wainwright is getting a few more chances to prove he can compete as a starter, Lyons can keep working back and stretching out. Until 2016, Lyons was a starter, however last season he took on a relief role.
Though it may not have panned out thus far, Trevor Rosenthal could be a potential starting replacement. He is being used in more of a setup role after returning from injury, but the idea about stretching him out could come even more to the forefront. That may not be a likely scenario, but it poses the option of not having to send a player down to make room for another arm.
There are other options both in and out of the organization. One thing for certain is that the age of Wainwright is getting to him. Something needs to happen. Living in the past and pretending he is still a guy who fans can be confident in will not work.
A move to the bullpen could bring some of that confidence back. If he can give just a few strong innings at a time, then he can go back to being a key contributor for the St. Louis Cardinals.