Adam Wainwright says he didn’t want to leave St. Louis Cardinals, saying “I don’t want to be anywhere else, who am I kidding?”
Adam Wainwright has long been expected to re-sign with the St. Louis Cardinals. It has felt like a mere formality, especially after he made his intentions to play in 2022 clear following Yadier Molina’s one-year extension.
Alas, Wainwright was signed to a one-year extension on Friday, and he made it clear how much he wanted to stay in St. Louis, telling reporters that “I don’t want to be anywhere else, who am I kidding?” before adding that he has never had this much fun in his career with teammates, setting records alongside Molina and coming off a historic 17-game winning streak.
It’s clear how much fun Wainwright is having based solely on his performance. The 40-year-old has emerged as the Cardinals’ ace in his 16th season after right-hander Jack Flaherty went down with a significant oblique injury earlier in the season. In 206.1 innings this season, which are among the most in baseball, he has a 3.05 ERA and 174/50 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a 3.66 FIP, his lowest in a full season since 2014, and has shown that he has plenty left in the tank when his career was almost derailed by injuries a few seasons ago.
That the Cardinals have Wainwright and Molina signed, as well as Nolan Arenado verbally committed for 2022, should only help the team attract free agents this winter. They are clearly going to be contending for a championship and, as Arenado has made clear in recent weeks, he was drawn to the idea of playing alongside two legends. Who says other players such as, say, his former teammate and shortstop Trevor Story won’t feel the same way? The Cardinals just so happen to have a gaping hole at shortstop.
The Cardinals’ culture, the one that Wainwright has raved about, should only help in that recruiting process as well. But a big part of their 2022 season was having Wainwright and Molina return with Arenado at the hot corner. Entering Friday, they had two of the three in place and it was basically a lock that Wainwright would return.
By the middle of Friday, Wainwright and the Cardinals were holding a press conference announcing the one-year pact. There is work to be done, of course, but things couldn’t be going better for the organization — both on and off the field.