St. Louis Cardinals News: Adam Wainwright re-signs for one year
By Matt Graves
The St. Louis Cardinals have brought back Adam Wainwright on a one-year deal.
To this point this winter, the St. Louis Cardinals had yet to do much of anything. There have been a couple of minor-league signings, but they had yet to make a single addition to the major league roster.
From the beginning of the offseason, the Cardinals’ front brass had iterated that the first focus of the offseason would be deciding on whether or not to bring back franchise icons Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.
While there is still much room for improvement, the Cardinals have brought back one of two legends. Adam Wainwright will return for what may be his final year in 2021.
While it had been reported that the Cardinals had made offers to both Molina and Wainwright, Waino’s market had been seeing more action as of late. As early as Thursday morning, it was reported that the Padres had been making a push for the 39-year-old.
If this offseason has taught us anything, it’s that the Padres are not easy to fend off when they go after a player. This news seemingly prompted the Cardinals to up their offer as the one-year deal for Waino is for a reported $8M.
This represents a third straight year of raises for Waino starting with his $2M guaranteed deal he signed in 2019. It took just $5M to re-sign him before the 2020 season, but now Wainwright is no longer unproven. For the past two seasons, he has been a stabilizing force in the rotation that has been flush with young arms.
In 2020, Wainwright was arguably the best pitcher for the Cardinals, putting up a 3.15 ERA over 65.2 innings with just a 1.051 WHIP and two complete games. As he continues to age, there is always the question of how long his arm will hold up, but in this case there is no reason to be upset with the deal.
Wainwright has more than earned $8M for 2021 with his performance over the past two years and will once again serve the same veteran, stabilizing presence for a rotation that will need it.
As was mentioned earlier, Wainwright and Molina have always been the first priority. The time waiting for them to re-sign may have been much longer than both sides wanted, but the end result is still the same.
With Wainwright off the board, the odds that Yadi return may go either direction. On one side, $8M is more than most thought the Cards would dole out to bring Waino back, so who knows how much is left for Yadi. On the other side, both players have expressed a desire to finish their careers out in the same spot. Keeping Waino might draw Yadi back more than he already was.
At the end of the day, the Cardinals have finally broken the ice, and now that part of their first priority is finished, it may unclog the team to address other concerns outside of just Molina and Waino.
I am not championing complacency, but bringing back Waino was a no-brainer. This is not a “cheap” deal, but it would have been a blow to the fanbase to see a team like the Padres swoop in and outbid the Cardinals for one of their longest-tenured players and team leaders.