The St. Louis Cardinals are said to be discussing the future with Adam Wainwright. To me, the best place for him is to be in the bullpen.
I am very much in favor of the St. Louis Cardinals bringing Adam Wainwright back in 2019 and possibly beyond. I haven’t always been a huge fan of Waino and even wrote a few pieces predicting the end of his career.
Then… Wainwright returned at the end of 2018 and showed that he was embracing the pitcher he had become rather than the pitcher he once was. I wrote about him as the season expired. Check the link below for more on my appreciation of his time off and the approach change he had upon his return.
Now, the Cardinals are supposed to be talking with Wainwright about a potential return. Many naysayers will do just that: say nay. I am, as surprising as this may be, not one of these. That said, I’m not interested in a return to the starting rotation for Wainwright.
To me, the older arm is better positioned for a bullpen role. Even more so, I think the St. Louis Cardinals would be smart to issue Waino a 3-year contract with the last year (or last two years) in a front office role. They could even extend this front office role to be something in the coaching capacity.
Let me be completely frank: Wainwright is a future coach and I would hate for him to be a coach anywhere else than in the St. Louis Cardinals system. I am afraid, very afraid, that if the Cardinals let him walk this season that he might not return to the Cardinals again.
Let’s take a look at Wainwright’s career in the bullpen versus his days in the starting rotation.
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Both are similar but opponents have held a weaker batting average facing the Wainwright from the pen than the Wainwright who goes multiple innings.
Something that does stand out to me when looking at the starting vs. relieving stats is Waino’s strikeouts to walks. As a starter, Wainwright Ks a greater number of batters than he does from the pen. If this holds true beyond 2018, then a pen role is better-suited to the style of pitching he exhibited upon his return in 2018.
In other words, an Adam Wainwright who pitches to contact (thus producing outs) over an Adam Wainwright who pitches to strikeouts, to me, is a better Wainwright for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019 and beyond.
Would you like to see Adam return as a pitching coach in the future? Do you believe that an extension is necessary to get him in the future still wearing the birds on the bat? Let us know your thoughts and thanks for reading!