Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright spoke with the media Wednesday, including Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat, on the heels of the announcement that he and the club agreed to a contract for 2023. In discussing the deal, Wainwright admitted that 2023 will be his final season.
“I could tell you yes, but then there’s a whole lot of hoopla you’ve gotta go through,” Wainwright said in response to a question about whether this would be his final run. “Long story short: Yes, this’ll be the last one. Just everybody relax. Don’t freak out about it.”
Prior to 2022, fellow Cardinal legends Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols announced that they were entering their final respective seasons. There was plenty of speculation that Wainwright might eventually decide to ride into the sunset with them, but he instead decided to mount up for another campaign, which will evidently be his last. Wainwright turned 41 years old in August and will therefore be set to retire shortly after his 42nd birthday.
Wainwright is currently sitting on 195 career wins and will certainly crack the 200 plateau as long as he’s able to stay healthy. He is setting his sights higher than that, however.
“The number I’m looking at is not 200. The number is 210,” Wainwright said, per Jones.
Getting to 210 would allow Wainwright to tie Jesse Haines for second place on the all-time Cardinals list, behind only Bob Gibson’s 251. Wainwright also added that he would like to catch John Smoltz, who logged 213 career victories.
Regardless of how the 2023 campaign ultimately goes, Wainwright will finish with a fine career résumé. Making his debut back in 2005, he’s already appeared in 457 games, starting 390 of those and logging 2,567 1/3 innings. He has a career ERA of 3.38 over that time while notching 2,147 strikeouts. He’s made three All-Star teams, won a couple of Gold Gloves and was a World Series champion in 2006 and 2011 (though he missed the entirety of the latter championship season due to Tommy John surgery). That’s already a tremendous career, though he will have one more season to try to add to his personal accomplishments and grab one last World Series ring before hanging up his spikes.