3. Adam Wainwright's last ride
The Cardinals' last link to the 2011 World Series-winning team (and the 2006 one, for that matter), Adam Wainwright announced last year that he will return for one more season. After a mechanical flaw at the tail end of 2022 hurt his production and knocked him out of the running as a postseason starter, Wainwright wants to go out on the right note.
Wainwright has turned himself into a pitcher who relies on wits and guile, which is somewhat novel in today's game given the prevalence of pitchers who can throw baseballs upward of 100 mph. His pitching knowledge should once again help younger hurlers hone their craft, and he should be able to be among the leaders in innings pitched at the end of the season once again, even at age 42.
Wainwright needs five wins to reach 200 for his career. His Hall of Fame chances might not be especially high given the seasons he missed to injury and the lack of a Cy Young Award, but another productive season could put him over the edge. At the least, fans will be watching a no-doubt Cardinals Hall of Famer and an outstanding ambassador for the sport one last time.