ST. LOUIS, Mo. – It is official! The St. Louis Cardinals announced Friday that they have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent pitcher Adam Wainwright for the 2021 season.
The financials of the contract have not yet officially been released, but MLB Network’s John Heyman reported Thursday that it is an $8 million deal.
This will be Wainwright’s 17th season with the Cardinals. This ties him with Bob Gibson for second in most seasons as a redbird pitcher. Jesse Haines holds the record with 18 season from 1920 to 1937.
“We are pleased to announce that Adam is returning for the upcoming season, and we look forward to seeing him continue to add to his great Cardinals legacy,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said. “While he continues to pitch at a high level, Adam also remains a highly-respected team leader who has committed himself to being a wonderful ambassador for both the game and his community.”
Wainwright was the first pitcher to win the Roberto Clemente Award in December 2020.
“This is the greatest honor of my entire career and when I lay my head down to the rest a final time it will be the greatest honor I have achieved in my entire life,” he said.
The Cardinals have said during this offseason that bringing Wainwright and Yadier Molina back were top club priorities. Molina has taken to Instagram several times this winter with cryptic references to his future. He is believed to want a two-year contract.
The market for free agent catchers has thinned, first with James McCann signing with the New York Mets and then JT Realmuto re-signing with the Philadelphia Phillies this week. Washington, which could have offered another destination for Molina, appears close to a deal with Alex Avila.
The Cardinals had indicated that if Molina did not come back, it would look outside the organization for help and not rely solely on Andrew Knizner as his primary replacement, so if Molina were to accept another offer or retire, the free agent market would be limited.