Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals Agree to One-Year Contract

Adam Wainwright
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 11: Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals takes the field prior to game one of the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium on October 11, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Adam Wainwright is set to return to the St. Louis Cardinals for his 15th MLB season. Wainwright debuted in 2005, and he has played for the Cardinals his entire career. He posted a 14-10 record in 2019 with a 4.19 ERA in 171.1 innings pitched with a 1.427 WHIP.

A Lifelong Cardinal

Adam Wainwright has played all 14 seasons of his career with the Cardinals. He holds a career record of 162-95 with a 3.39 ERA in 2,103.2 innings pitched. He has 1,776 strikeouts in his career and a 3.08 K/BB ratio, leading to a 1.230 WHIP. For his career, Wainwright has a 118 ERA+.

The best stretch of Wainwright’s career came from 2009-2014. Despite missing all of 2011, and a World Series championship run, with Tommy John surgery, Wainwright posted a 2.83 ERA and 1.118 WHIP in that span while pitching 1,130.2 innings with a 135 ERA+.

In that span, he had four top-three finishes in the Cy Young award voting although he has never won the award. He won 19 games twice, leading the league in both of those seasons, and won 20 games twice, while also leading the league in innings pitched twice. This culminated with an All-Star game start in 2014.

Wainwright has also been a clutch-postseason pitcher for the Cardinals. His signature moment came from striking out Carlos Beltran looking with a curveball to win the 2006 NL Pennant, but his postseason track record features more than just that strikeout.

Despite missing the 2011 World Series run, Wainwright has pitched in 14 postseason series across seven seasons. In 105.2 innings pitched, he has a 6.89 K/BB ratio and a 2.81 ERA and 1.069 WHIP. He appeared in three games, starting two, during the 2019 postseason, and he tallied 16.2 innings pitched while only allowing three earned runs.

Wainwright’s presence will continue to be a great influence on the Cardinals young pitchers, specifically Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson. Flaherty, 23, pitched to a 0.91 ERA in 99.1 innings pitched in the second half of 2019 while Hudson, 24, finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. Both will benefit from another year around someone with Wainwright’s experience.

The End of An Era

Wainwright will be 38 in the 2020 season, indicating that it could very well be his last in MLB. If that does become the case, he will retire in the same season as catcher Yadier Molina, who has stated he will retire at the end of his current contract, which is set to expire after 2020.

It would be fitting for the two lifelong-Cardinals to retire in the same season, as they have epitomized the Cardinal franchise for the last one-and-a-half decades. Wainwright debuted in 2005, pitching in two World Series, winning in 2006. Molina debuted in 2004, playing in four World Series, winning two of them.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

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