Ever since 2006, St. Louis Cardinals fans have held Adam Wainwright in the most positive of lights. Whether it is him closing out the 2006 World Series, or leading the NL in wins in 2009 or 2013, he has been near and dear to the Cardinals hearts. No one has ever dared try to criticize Adam Wainwright. However, today is the day.
It is time Cardinals organization. Wainwright must go back to the bullpen or retire.
This statement pains me to say, but it is time. Wainwright is now 35, and on the back half of his career. His recent history as a Cardinals pitcher shows this to be true. Last year, he went 13-9 with a 4.67 ERA. So, most of the time he was bailed out by the Cardinals offense. This is not the case this year. He is currently 0-3 with a 7.67 ERA, which is a terrible start to the year. And it does not look like things will be turning around for him anytime soon.
Last night against the Yankees, Wainwright was unable to get command of anything. He allowed 10 hits and four earned runs in 4.2 innings of work. That’s been the standard start for him as this season has progressed. The stats are not improving and it is painful to watch someone the Cardinals faithful love so much struggle so badly.
The explanations for these types of struggles could be Wainwright’s injury history catching up with him. As recently as 2015, Wainwright tore his Achilles tendon after batting, causing him to miss the rest of that season. The consequences of that were that the Cardinals lost their ace for that season, hurting their ability to win in the playoffs (where they lost to the Cubs, ugh). Potentially having an ace that year could have made a difference in that series. But, we will never know.
Back in 2011, Wainwright had to undergo Tommy John surgery because of the discomfort in his elbow. The following season, Wainwright has statistically one of his worst seasons all time. He went 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA. Once again, the Cardinals were successful during Wainwright’s injury, going on to win the World Series. The Cardinals success is oddly correlated with Wainwright’s injury, but that is for a different story.
Wainwright is turning 36 this year, which means that he is going on toward the back half of his career. These injuries are starting to pile up and affect him I would think. A pitcher is never the same after Tommy John surgery, and Wainwright has proved to be no different. Especially when he is on the back half of his career, the reconstructive surgery like Tommy John affects them down the road. Wainwright has shown he doesn’t have the same type of pitching he used to. This season is on track to be his worst statistically too, proving that it wouldn’t be the worst idea to move him to the bullpen.
At some point, the Cardinals do need to make room for the young pitchers in their farm system. People like Luke Weaver do not have the opportunity currently to pitch because the Cardinals are holding onto people like Adam Wainwright. They’re going to have to let Wainwright go soon to pave the way for people like Weaver, since the Cardinals are so great at creating a quality farm system.
Overall, it seems like Uncle Charlie may be on his way out. All Cardinals fans love him and want him to pitch forever, but he has shown a lot of signs of aging in recent years. Last year and the start of this season show he has not made many improvements to his game. Unfortunately, that means that he may be on his way out. Unless there are some drastic changes by Wainwright, do not be surprised if he is on his way out come 2018.
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