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Adam Wainwright Reportedly Agrees to Contract to Return to Cardinals in 2022

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 1, 2021

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Pitcher Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to an extension through the 2022 MLB season, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The three-time All-Star signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Cardinals for 2021. His return will extend his tenure in St. Louis to 18 seasons.

Given his age (40), retirement seemed a logical outcome for the right-hander when the Cardinals' playoff run comes to an end. Physically, though, he has plenty left in the tank.

In 32 appearances, Wainwright is 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA and 3.65 FIP, per FanGraphs.

According to Brooks Baseball, neither Wainwright's four-seam fastball nor his sinker is averaging 90 mph. Despite that, opposing hitters have only a .380 expected slugging percentage and a .273 weighted on-base average against him, per Baseball Savant.

As the Cardinals caught fire during the stretch run, Wainwright was a key figure in their success.

Ryan M. Spaeder @theaceofspaeder

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StLCards?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StLCards</a> Adam Wainwright was 10-1 with a 2.28 ERA and opponents hitting .209/.252/.319 against him during his final 14 starts of the season. St. Louis was 13-1 during those games... the only loss? A shutout against the Brewers led by Corbin Burnes on Aug. 17, 2021. <a href="https://t.co/cgOonSeLc6">https://t.co/cgOonSeLc6</a>

In August, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt compared Wainwright to franchise legend Bob Gibson:

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"He expected to dominate, Mr. Gibson. Waino expects to go out and dominate. Waino expects to go nine. Waino expects to go deep in a game. Waino expects to make pitches when he needs to. Waino expects to get it done.
“And it's great to expect all those things, but people can say anything they want. … He creates a high standard, which is a great start, but then he does all the work that leads up to being able to satisfy those standards."

With Wainwright coming back, St. Louis' starting rotation is largely set for 2022. Miles Mikolas, Carlos Martinez, Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson are all either signed or under team control. Left-hander Matthew Liberatore, the team's No. 2 prospect on MLB.com, figures to factor in as well.

Wainwright's extension would allow him to walk away alongside his most frequent batterymate. Catcher Yadier Molina has confirmed he plans to retire at the end of the 2022 campaign. This time next year, the Cardinals may witness the end of an era.

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