St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 8-14

photo: Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

As the 2018 MLB Championship Series continue, the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to bring back Adam Wainwright for 2019. In our weekly history feature, the trade that brought the right-hander from Atlanta in 2003 is remembered.

Wainwright to return for 2019

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The speculation over whether Adam Wainwright would return to the St. Louis Cardinals or find a new home as a free agent came to an end this past week with the announcement that Wainwright and the Cardinals had agreed to a one-year contract for 2019.

The 37-year old veteran right handed pitcher’s deal reportedly has a low base salary and is loaded with incentives to potentially increase its value.  Those incentives cover both starting and relieving roles.  The financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed and will not until after the World Series, when the contract is made official.

Wainwright missed most of the 2018 season via three disabled list stints due to elbow ailments, but returned to the roster in September and made four starts.  In those four starts, Wainwright allowed 12 earned runs over 22 1/3 innings for an ERA of 4.84.  The right hander struck out 25 and walked four.  The Cardinals won three of Wainwright’s four starts.

St. Louis general manager Michael Girsch has disclosed that Wainwright will come to Spring Training as a starter, and the team will evaluate his role from there.  2019 will be the right hander’s 15th season with the Cardinals, matching Bob Forsch for third most by a Cardinals pitcher.

TCN’s Brian Walton outlined his concerns about the downstream ramifications of this move.

Wainwright’s Return Puts the Pressure on Shildt

Carlos Martinez (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Martinez back into the rotation

Carlos Martinez, who spent the latter weeks of the 2018 in the bullpen, including a final stretch as closer, will return to his regular role as a starter for 2019.  This came from comments by manager Mike Shildt to Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.

However, the manager stopped short of anointing 2018 rookie Jordan Hicks as the club’s new closer for 2019.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

A number of Cardinals fans on social media became excited this past week over an unearthed five-year old tweet from free agent-to-be Bryce Harper in which the outfielder stated how much he enjoyed playing in St. Louis.


  • 10/1 The Cardinals recalled RHP Conner Greene from the Memphis Redbirds
  • 10/1 The Cardinals recalled RHP Derian Gonzalez from the Memphis Redbirds
  • 10/1 The Cardinals recalled RHP Matt Bowman from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 10/1 The Cardinals recalled LF Justin Williams from the Memphis Redbirds.

These are nothing more than annual paperwork moves for all 40-man roster players not already with St. Louis when the regular season ended.

In the next 30 days, the Cardinals are expected to prune several players from the 40-man roster in preparation for Rule 5 draft protection decisions due next month.

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Injury Report

Marcell Ozuna – There is no update to an earlier report by agent Scott Boras that his client would have his sore right shoulder evaluated by his doctor in Los Angeles with an off-season plan for the outfielder, whether surgery or rehab, to follow.

Ozuna has one more season, 2019, under team control before becoming free agent eligible.

Looking Ahead

Bud Norris (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The postseason continues with the Championship Series in both leagues underway.  The postseason will conclude no later than October 31.

All offseason activities will begin after the World Series ends.  Pending free agents will become official free agents the day after the Word Series.  Free agents can sign with any club beginning five days after the World Series.  Adam Wainwright has agreed to a one-year deal to return in 2019.  The terms of the new deal will not be announced until after the end of the World Series.

With the Wainwright agreement, the Cardinals pending free agents are now Bud Norris, Tyson Ross, and Matt Adams.  There have been no indications as of this writing of intentions to re-sign any of them.

The 40-man roster must be finalized prior to the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.  The deadline for doing so is on or about November 20.  Paper transactions to recall the final four optioned 40-man roster players have already occurred (see above).

The non-tender deadline is November 30.  The Cardinals have five arbitration eligible players.  They are Marcell Ozuna, Michael Wacha, Dominic Leone, Chasen Shreve, and Greg Garcia.  Of them, Garcia is the most likely non-tender candidate.

Blast from the Past

It was announced this past week that the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran right handed pitchers’ return to the Cardinals for 2019.   The trade that brought Wainwright to the Cardinals will be the subject of this week’s trade or acquisition series for Blast from the Past.

Adam Wainwright (Atlanta Braves)

Wainwright was originally selected by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2000 draft, 29th overall.   He spent four seasons in the Braves system with his final year being 2003 with the Double-A Greenville Braves.  Wainwright was the Braves No. 1 prospect in 2003.

That December, the Braves traded Wainwright to the Cardinals along with Jason Marquis and Ray King, with the Braves receiving J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero in return.  Wainwright was assigned to the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, in 2004.  The right-hander pitched in just 12 games before being shut down the remainder of the season with an elbow strain.  Wainwright started 29 games with Memphis in 2005 and made his major league debut with St. Louis on September 11, 2005.

J.D Drew (Getty Images)

Wainwright made the Opening Day roster in 2006 as a reliever, and pitched in the bullpen for the entire season, ending 2006 as the Cardinals’ closer following the injury to Jason Isringhausen in September.  In that role, Wainwright made a name for himself, getting the final out of the 2006 NLCS with a perfect curve ball to future teammate Carlos Beltran to advance the Cardinals to the World Series.  In that series, Wainwright struck out Detroit’s Brandon Inge for the final out to give St. Louis the 2006 World Series Championship.

Wainwright returned in 2007 as a starter, a role which he has retained throughout his Cardinals’ career.  That career has included three all-star appearances, two Gold Glove awards, one Silver Slugger award and two Cy Young Award runners up.  It is a career that most surely will put Wainwright in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

On the Braves end of the trade, they received career years from both Drew and Marrero in 2004.  That was about all they got, however, while the Cardinals received much, much more. This is certainly one of the better trades in Cardinals history.

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