St. Louis Cardinals: Why not both Wainwright… and Freese?

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 26: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 26, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 26: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 26, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals re-signed Adam Wainwright to a one-year extension.  We also learned on Tuesday that the Cardinals attempted to bring back David Freese prior to the waiver August 31 deadline.  Folks, the Wainwright move and the attempted trade for Freese is more than sentimentality on the Cardinals part.

Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to one-year extension on Thursday.  According to Jenifer Langosch, terms of the deal were not disclosed, but believed to be a ‘low base salary’ with ‘significant incentives.’

My Redbird Rants co-contributor, Austin Roberts, wrote a piece covering the news of Wainwright’s re-signing and you can read it here.

On Tuesday, Bernie Miklasz reported that the St. Louis Cardinals attempted a trade with the Pittsburgh PIrates for David Freese before the waiver trade deadline on August 31.  However, according to Miklasz, the Pirates didn’t want to trade Freese to a NL Central division rival.  The former Cardinal third baseman was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 31.

The re-signing of Wainwright and the attempted trade was more than sentimentality, There are practical reasons why the Cardinals want to bring back Adam Wainwright and why they wanted to bring back David Freese.

Adam Wainwright

The Wainwright re-signing started immediately getting praise and criticism on social media when it was announced on Thursday.  The Cardinals were accused of signing Wainwright as a ‘nostalgia  move’ and would block young pitching prospects from making the team out of spring training.

However, a closer look shows that sentimentality, although may have been part of the reason, wasn’t the primary reason to bring back Wainwright.  The St. Louis Cardinals have rotation and bullpen issues that need to be addressed.  Wainwright’s signing will give the team some flexibility in dealing with those issues.

The long-term health of starters such as Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Alex Reyes are concerning. The questions of whether Luke Weaver, Austin Gomber, and Dakota Hudson should be starters or in the bullpen will have to be addressed.  The whole bullpen itself is nothing but a big question mark.  Who will be the closer?  Who will be the left-handed options in the bullpen?

Remember when Wainwright came back in September, he was serviceable as a starter and gave the Cards a needed boost during the September push to the post season.

David Freese

To some, the 2011 World Series MVP returning to St. Louis would strictly be a sentimentality move.  After all, many feel the St. Louis Cardinals need a power hitting third baseman, something David Freese doesn’t fit.  Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas, Josh Donaldson, or Nolan Arenado would better serve the role than Freese.

Then, why would the St. Louis Cardinals bring back David Freese if not for nostalgia?  “Money” is the word Miklasz used. What Bernie meant by that was Freese is ‘clutch’ in the postseason.  His 2011 postseason is well-remembered by Cardinals fans and I won’t rehash it here.

Nevertheless, as Miklasz points out, since his trade to the Dodgers, Freese has been “Money” or “Clutch” since joining the Dodgers and his slash line is .395/.489/.641.  In three plate appearances in the NLDS vs the Braves, Freese drove in three runs in three plate appearances.

This is why the Cardinals wanted Freese back during their September run.  Who knew Freese’s value better than the St. Louis Cardinals?

Both Wainwright and Freese in 2019

If Adam Wainwright brings value to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019, so can David Freese.  But not only for the reasons discussed above.  Adam Wainwright and David Freese can bring leadership to the clubhouse for a team that is getting increasingly younger.

During the 2018 season, Adam Wainwright was a constant presence in the dugout encouraging and offering advice to other players.  I suspect in the clubhouse his presence was also felt by the younger Cardinals.

Wainwright and Yadier Molina are the only two Redbirds left on the roster who have been part of a championship team. Bringing back David Freese would add another experienced championship voice to the young clubhouse.  With young players such as Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neil, Paul DeJong, and others, Freese’s voice would be invaluable.


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David Freese’s role would be as a utility player for the Cardinals in 2019.  As stated earlier, he wouldn’t answer a need for a ‘big bat’ at third base.  But the utility player is a role he has filled with the Pirates very effectively during his tenure in Pittsburgh.

Freese also added a leadership role with the Pirates that was on display when he called out the clubhouse culture in spring training.  This is a role he could play in St. Louis with the young inexperienced talent currently roaming the clubhouse.

The leadership roles of Adam Wainwright and David Freese could be very valuable to the 2019 Cardinals.  I believe this is the primary reason John Mozeliak and the front office re-signed Adam Wainwright and the attempted trade for David Freese in August.

Bring back David Freese for 2019 would be more for more than sentimental or nostalgia reasons.  Like Adam Wainwright, it would give the Cardinals an additional mature voice so needed in the Cardinals clubhouse.

That’s my opinion.  What’s yours on bringing back Wainwright and Freese?  Let us know.

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Thanks for reading and Go Cards.