It's not every day you get the inside scoop on some trades that could have happened in prior seasons, but St. Louis Cardinals' legend Adam Wainwright unveiled a situation that would have dramatically changed his career and the Cardinals' organization.
While appearing on 101 ESPN's "The Opening Drive", Randy Karraker asked Wainwright if he would consider a trade to a contender if the Cardinals were out of it and they approached him with the possibility at the trade deadline. Wainwright responded with the following.
""I got this Cardinal blood running through my system...long story for a short answer, I don't think I could go anywhere.""- Adam Wainwright
Wainwright does not want to leave the Cardinals this season, but that "long story" that he referenced in that quote alludes to some trade interest he shot down from another contender in 2021.
Adam Wainwright shot down trade interest coming from a "great friend of his" and their team's front office
The full clip is linked above, but Wainwright told a story about how in 2021, the Cardinals were six or so games out, and a "great friend of his, legendary player" who Wainwright would not name, called Wainwright and told him that he and his team's general manager believed that Wainwright would put them over the top, and they wanted to know if he'd be interested in playing for them.
If you remember, 2021 was the year the club went on a 17-game win streak to make the playoffs, so things were looking bleak in July. The Cardinals' two deadline moves were acquiring J.A. Happ and Jon Lester to get them some innings. They were not expected to go anywhere.
And yet, Wainwright still believed in his team and did not want to jump ship to play for a legit World Series contender, even though it's likely the front office would have let him do so. Wainwright finished 7th in the NL Cy Young voting that year, going 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA in 206.1 innings of work. The Cardinals could have acquired some valuable pieces for him, but instead, he helped lead them to a postseason berth.
Were Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Dodgers the team that came calling?
If you're like me, you're probably extremely curious as to what team this was that came knocking for Wainwright. While it could have been another club, it seems likely that it was Albert Pujols who came calling that day.
Wainwright and Pujols are good friends, Pujols is a legendary player, and Wainwright would have helped boost their rotation even more in their fight with the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.
Regardless, Wainwright's comments show a lot about his commitment to this organization. I and many others have been critical of the contract that the Cardinals gave Wainwright this offseason, but I will always respect Wainwright for the ambassador he has been for the Cardinals and the game of baseball. He is a great man and will be greatly missed upon his retirement. Let's all hope for a turnaround for both the Cardinals and Wainwright this season, so he can end his career with them on a high note.