After Yadier Molina signed an extension, there was little doubt that Adam Wainwright would return in 2022. On Tuesday, he made it official.
Adam Wainwright has been the St. Louis Cardinals’ most obvious extension candidate ever since they re-signed Yadier Molina. The only problem, however, is that they didn’t know if he would pitch in 2022 after expressing that 2021 might be his last season.
But Wainwright now intends to pitch in 2022, he told reporters. It’s been widely expected that he would return despite his hints at retirement, as he remains one of the best pitchers in the National League, leading the Cardinals’ rotation that has been without Jack Flaherty for most of the season.
And now that Wainwright intends to pitch in 2022, the Cardinals can go forward with the one-year contract extension that they are reportedly ready to offer him. There have been mixed signals on what he could earn annually, especially after Charlie Morton’s one-year, $20 million extension, but the general feeling is it will be somewhere in the $10-15 million range.
Wainwright, 40, is beyond deserving of that kind of commitment — and even then some. He has a 2.91 ERA in 176 innings and has been the workhorse that many envisioned Flaherty becoming. Wainwright has filled in admirably in that role and has further solidified his status as a Hall of Famer, potentially going in with his longtime battery mate Yadier Molina at the same time when/if they both retire following the 2022 season.
Wainwright returning for another season always felt like a foregone conclusion considering Molina’s extension and his performance this season. Now, it’s all but guaranteed that his final season will come with the Cardinals. The only thing left is for the team and player to work out a contract to make it official for Molina and Wainwright to have one last chance at bringing another World Series to St. Louis.