The St. Louis Cardinals are set to bring back a key piece of their rotation for 2023.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Adam Wainwright is coming back for another year. His return will fill what would have been a major void in the Cardinals’ rotation as they look to defend their NL Central crown.
Adam Wainwright looking to add to St. Louis Cardinals’ legacy
The expectation was that 2022 was going to be Wainwright’s final year. He was supposed to walk off into the sunset with Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, a trio of Cardinals legends retiring together to mark an end of an era.
But he left the door open for a return late in the year. He had the enigmatic response of “You never know” when asked if he was going to pitch beyond 2022. As he finished the season with a surprisingly solid 3.71 ERA and a 1.283 WHiP over his 191.2 innings, striking out 143 batters with 53 walks. Although he faded down the stretch, Wainwright still had something left in the tank in his age 40 season.
Even if Wainwright is not the same pitcher he had been in the past, he is still a solid option toward the back of the Cardinals’ rotation. He will help stabilize a collection that will be counting on Miles Mikolas and Jordan Montgomery to replicate their performances while dealing with the uncertainty of Steven Matz, Jack Flaherty, and Dakota Hudson. If those pitchers can return to form, Wainwright would be an impressive fifth starter. Otherwise, he would fit well in the middle of their rotation once again.
This is also a chance for Wainwright to chase history. He is just five wins away from 200 in his career. If he can win 15 more games, he will tie Jesse Haines for second place in franchise history. As the Cardinals should contend once more in 2023, it is possible that he gets close to Haines by the end of the year.
Adam Wainwright is coming back for at least one more year. The St. Louis Cardinals legend could still play an important role in 2023.