St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has announced his intention to return for one more season in 2023.
Wainwright, who will turn 42 on Aug. 30, will look to reach the 200-win mark, needing five wins to accomplish it. If he can win 15 games, he will tie Jesse Haines for second all-time in Cardinals history, behind Bob Gibson.
While Wainwright’s season didn’t end the way fans wanted it to, his identification of a shortened stride caused by a batted ball to the leg lends hope to the idea that he can be strong again next year with a full offseason’s worth of recovery.
Wainwright should continue to serve as a valuable mentor to younger pitchers and be a solid hurler himself. A longtime fan favorite, Wainwright has also been a model citizen in the St. Louis community, founding the nonprofit organization Big League Impact.
Wainwright will, of course, be slotted into the rotation, which could put a damper on the thought of the team’s re-signing Jose Quintana. Along with Wainwright, the rotation will likely comprise Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery and Steven Matz.
Fans will hope Wainwright’s ride off into the sunset will be more fruitful than those of Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, who had an abbreviated postseason exit after the Cardinals were bounced in the first round. After the Wild Card series, Wainwright said the fact that he didn’t pitch in it would give him motivation.
Wainwright will face a new test in having someone other than Molina behind the plate for all of his starts. As fans are well aware, the two were virtually inseparable as they shattered the all-time record for most starts by a battery.
While Wainwright’s Hall of Fame induction is a matter of debate because he missed a couple of prime seasons as a result of injury, 200 wins would likely markedly improve his pedigree for enshrinement. But first things first, he needs to have one more productive season to help the Cardinals reach the postseason again.
The Cardinals have not yet announced his contract but are expected to hold a press conference with the details.