What Should The Cardinals Do If Adam Wainwright's Struggles Continue?
The Cardinals may ultimately find themselves in a difficult position soon. Veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright, who re-signed with the team on a one-year, $17.5 million deal this past offseason is looking to prove himself after a disastrous month of September cost him a spot in the postseason rotation and ultimately led to him not pitching in the Wild Card Series against the Phillies.
However, the issues that plagued him last September, including a hitch in his delivery and decreased velocity have reared their ugly heads early on in Spring Training. It's too early to panic, and we've seen the 41-year-old bounce back from greater challenges time and again. However, it's something that the Cardinals should keep an eye on as he prepares to make his first start in the World Baseball Classic.
He'll be pitching on Saturday night in Team USA's first game against Great Britain. He allowed one run over two innings of work against the Nationals in his first spring start but continued to struggle with his velocity.
The same issues plagued him in his start last week against the defending champion Astros. Though his velocity had improved slightly, he allowed three runs over three innings of work, and the exit velocities on some of his pitches were quite concerning.
If these struggles persist, then the Cardinals may have to improvise with their starting rotation and rethink their plan to start Wainwright on Opening Day against the Blue Jays.
Here are three things that the Cardinals should consider if Wainwright doesn't improve.