Adam Wainwright's 2022 season defied his advanced age, as he pitched to a 3.71 ERA at age 41. But in 2023, Wainwright was, by many metrics, the worst pitcher in baseball. Injuries that hampered him at the end of last season continued to plague him this year. He was in the first percentile of run value, expected ERA, expected batting average, fastball velocity, whiff percentage, and strikeout percentage.
Wainwright lost much of his previously elite extension this season, and the spin on his curveball declined as well. The surface stats are equally ugly: a 7.40 ERA and a 5-11 record along with 151 hits allowed in 101 innings.
If the Cardinals had been in the playoff race this season, Wainwright almost certainly would have been sent to the bullpen, but Wainwright was thankfully able to salvage his season with some strong outings at the end, including seven shutout innings in what has been revealed to be his final career appearance.
Although Wainwright's final season was not the swan song fans hoped for, he will retire as one of greatest starting pitchers in the history of the Cardinals organization.
The Cardinals need to receive more production from the three pitchers on this list who are returning next season. If they don't, the team will be in for another rough year.