Waino gets a no-trade disposition, hotel suite

The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher will be back for one final season.

ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright will pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals next season, opting to return for one final year with the club even as longtime teammates Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina retire.

Wainwright, 41, agreed to a one-year, $17.5 million contract on Wednesday that includes $10 million in deferred pay and the option to earn $1 million in departure bonuses.

He informed the champions at NL Central of his decision to return shortly after they were eliminated by the Philadelphia Phillies in the wildcard round of the playoffs. Wainwright didn’t pitch in both games in part because he struggled with his late-season delivery.

“I tend to think the way the season ended made me want to come back even more,” Wainwright said Wednesday, “because I didn’t like it. I don’t like going out like that. “I wasn’t playing like I know I should have been playing. I wasn’t helping the team like I knew I should have been helping the team. We didn’t win. I love my teammates.”

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“But looking back now, it seemed like everything that had happened had made me want to come back for another year,” he said.

When asked if it would be just that – a final year – he replied: “Yes.” But then Wainwright made it clear that he had no interest in answering retirement questions every week, instead imploring people to “just let me come out and present.”

Wainwright finished 11-12 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts, his first losing season in which he made at least 20 starts. However, he has only won twice in his last six starts and has had a 7.22 ERA while facing what he initially called a “dead leg”.

Wainwright’s deal includes $1 million payable July 1 from 2024 to 2033 and the opportunity to earn $500,000 each for 28 and 30 starts.

He gets a full no-trade provision and a hotel suite on road trips. He would earn $500,000 for finishing in the top 10 in voting for the Cy Cy Young Award, $50,000 each for making the All-Star team, winning League Championship Series MVP awards or the World Series or a Gold Glove, and $25,000 for a Silver Slugger.

Wainwright earned $17.5 million on a one-year contract last season.

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“We all know how competitive he is, we know how special he is in this clubhouse and what he means to this organization,” Cardinals president John Mozeliak said, “so we’re just glad I could do it.”

Wainwright heads into next season with five wins to reach 200. The right-hander is 15 behind Jesse Haines for the second most wins in franchise history; Bob Gibson is the leader with 251 of them.

Wainwright and Molina set the major league record for career debuts as the battery last season, eventually reaching 328 starts together. But with Molina set to retire, Andrew Knizner is set to be the go-to receiver, although Mozeliak indicated on Wednesday the club would be in the market for help behind the plate.

“We’re super excited to have him back, and we understood that he had interest in pitching again,” Mozeliak said. “He and I started talking about it in early September, and obviously September hasn’t gone the way he’d hoped, but we really feel like there’s something left in that reservoir.”

In other news, Mozeliak said he’s open to offering pitching coach Mike Maddux and batting coach Jeff Albert new contracts, but the two have decided to opt out. Maddux, 61, had been with the Cardinals since 2018 and Albert spent time with the Astros before taking over as the Cardinals’ batting coach ahead of the 2019 season.

The Cardinals had already lost bench coach Skip Schumaker to the Marlins as manager this week. And with bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd being reassigned as a special assistant within the organization, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol will have four spots to fill on his team ahead of his second season in charge.

Turner Ward, who had been the batting assistant coach, may be up for promotion. Pitching strategist Dusty Blake will also be back and could be among the candidates to replace Maddux as pitching coach.

“Obviously we have a lot of openings,” Mozeliak said. “We will look internally and we will look externally. We know we have qualified people within the organization, but we also want to make sure we meet all of our needs. »

Mozeliak also acknowledged spending time this week with All-Star third baseman Nolen Arenado, who must decide within five days of the end of the World Series whether to opt out of the remaining five years and $144 million on his contract.

Arenado, a nine-time Golden Glove winner, is coming off a season in which he hit .293 with 30 homers, 103 RBIs and a career-lowest strikeout rate, putting him in contention. MVP alongside teammate Paul Goldschmidt. And while the withdrawal could have been long last year, Arenado’s year raises questions about whether he could earn more on the open market.

Mozeliak said there was “optimism” around Arenado and the Cardinals, but there was nothing to announce yet.

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Nicholas E. Crittendon