Padres: Cardinals icon Adam Wainwright stays in St. Louis

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Six-man starting rotations could be far more common this year, with pitchers reacclimating to the workload associated with a 162-game season.

With that in mind, it wasn’t too surprising to see the Padres connected to veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright, who has been about as dependable as they come in his 15-year career, all of which has been spent with the St. Louis Cardinals. But at the end of the day, the three-time All-Star is sticking with what he knows after signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the Redbirds.

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He’s coming off a 2020 campaign that saw him work to a 3.15 ERA and 4.10 FIP across 65 2/3 innings of work. Wainwright tied for the league lead with a pair of complete games, even at age 38.

The Cardinals have been dead-silent this offseason prior to the re-signing of Wainwright, a theme that’s dominated the National League Central this winter. As for San Diego, the club clearly feels good about its mix of arms in the rotation, including Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack and Joe Musgrove.

A lot of Padres fans were less than thrilled about the idea of bringing in a guy knocking on 40 – but you can’t argue with Wainwright’s body of work.

While he’s not the Cy Young contender he once was, he’s proven to be fairly durable – and extremely reliable – during his time with St. Louis. Last year, he saw dramatic improvements in his hits per nine and walks per nine, both of which helped drive his success.

Padres: Adam Wainwright was like clockwork last season

In his 10 starts last year, Wainwright pitched at least six innings in eight of them. In the other two, he fell short of the six-inning mark by just one out once and lasted five frames in the other. He allowed more than three earned runs just once (in that start he allowed four in seven innings). In short, he was an anchor for the Cardinals staff.

Had AJ Preller brought in the veteran hurler, it likely would have been more about the health of someone like Lamet, who continues to ramp up after getting shut down late last year with an arm issue.

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But all early indications point to his being ready to go – and, really, you can’t overstate what Wainwright has meant in St. Louis for quite some time. It makes sense that both sides would be motivated to get a deal done for what could be his final big league campaign.