If Adam Wainwright decides to postpone his retirement and return for one more season, it seems like a natural choice to re-sign him. That’s not for sentimental reasons, either; he’s still a very productive pitcher at age 40. His guile and still-devastating curveball give many hitters fits, and I’ll hazard a guess that with hitters now preparing for upper-90s gas on every pitch, a crafty veteran like Wainwright who can sequence and locate his pitches expertly will only be more valuable with time.
There is a very real chance that Wainwright will ride off into the sunset with Yadier Molina after 2022, but if he does want to come back, I imagine he won’t take an offer with any other team. He said last year upon his re-signing that other teams offered him more money than the Cardinals. I don’t think he’d want to relocate at this point, so if the Cardinals don’t offer him another one-year deal, Wainwright will almost assuredly hang up the cleats without a regret.