St. Louis Cardinals working on bringing back Adam Wainwright

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2018 game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers on April 11, 2018 at Bush Stadium in Saint Louis Mo. (Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2018 game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers on April 11, 2018 at Bush Stadium in Saint Louis Mo. (Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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A bounce-back season in 2019 looks to have made a strong impression, as the St Louis Cardinals are currently attempting to work out a deal with free-agent starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.

It has been six years since he was an All-Star with the St Louis Cardinals and four since he finished the season with a sub-4.00 ERA, but as of right now, 38-year-old Adam Wainwright appears to have a 2020 job secured.

On Tuesday, Cardinals president of baseball operations, John Mozeliak, announced that the team was in the process of working up a new deal for Wainwright, a fair reward considering just a month ago Wainwright was starting a game in the 2019 National League Division Series for the Cardinals.

While certainly not the pitcher he was during the 2013-14 seasons — years in which he accrued 6.2 and 4.9 WAR (the former his career-high), respectively — Wainwright posted a solid final line during the 2019 regular season, making 31 starts and striking out 8.09 batters per nine with a 4.19 ERA, good for 2.2 WAR.

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Earning $10 million last season on a one-year deal ($2MM base salary + $8MM in incentives), the veteran righty was worth every penny — evident by the fact that Wainwright hauled in five times his base salary due to performance bonuses and incentives.

What could this new deal look like?

While his resurgence last season was definitely impressive, the Cardinals still must consider Wainwright’s age. Next August, the Cardinals lifer will turn 39, a little too old to garner much of an investment.

Also, Wainwright’s repertoire has suffered over the last 3-4 seasons. Never much of a flamethrower, Wainwright has made a living off his big looping curveball, and then midway through his career a mid-80s cutter (which took the place of his slider).

In 2019, Wainwright’s cutter took another step back, along with his changeup and fastball, leaving him with only his curveball as an above-average major league pitch:

Wainwright’s 2019 Pitch Values

(FanGraphs / runs-above-average)

  • Fastball:-7.0
  • Cutter: -4.6
  • Curveball: 9.0
  • Changeup: -1.2

Given it’s unlikely those figures will turnaround at this point in Wainwright’s career, it would be unrealistic to believe he’ll receive an offer longer than a year in length.

However, with his 2019 season widely surpassing anyone’s expectations, it would seem reasonable to assume the Cardinals will offer Wainwright a salary larger than $2 million. In fact, as MLB Trade Rumors suspects, a figure closer to his bonus-filled $10 million from 2019 seems more appropriate.

With a new pact, Wainwright will join staff ace Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Daniel Hudson to form a respectable front half of the St Louis Cardinals starting rotation. The team could also pursue another starter from this winter’s loaded market, though the organization would be better suited to perhaps go after a hitter, as the Redbirds lineup finished the 2019 season ranked10th in the Senior Circuit in runs scored.

Next. The forgotten Yoenis Cespedes. dark

*All WAR values were compiled from FanGraphs.