By Rob Rains
It looks like Adam Wainwright is returning to the Cardinals.
The free agent pitcher reportedly agreed to terms with the team on a one-year contract on Thursday, ending speculation that he might jump to another organization. Terms were not disclosed but Jon Heyman of MLB Network said on Twitter the deal was for $8 million.
The deal has not been confirmed by the Cardinals.
Wainwright, who will turn 40 on Aug. 30, had received at least three offers from other teams but always had said his preference was to return to the Cardinals if they wanted him back. All of the offers have not been disclosed but he reportedly had offers from the Padres and Royals.
This has been a quiet off-season for the Cardinals, who have not added a major-league player to their roster as they head into February, just two weeks away from the start of spring training.
The entire NL Central has let go of more players this winter than it has signed and if the reported $8 million contract is accurate, Wainwright’s signing is the biggest in the division since the end of last season.
Getting Wainwright under contract leaves two other free agents uncertain if they will be back in St. Louis – catcher Yadier Molina and second baseman Kolten Wong.
Molina has received an offer from the Cardinals, but it is believed to be for a much lower salary than he is seeking. Molina, 38, also has said he would like a two-year deal while it is believed the Cardinals’ offer is for only one year.
The Cardinals declined an option on Wong’s contract at the end of last season and to date there has been no apparent move to bring him back under a new deal. Wong has reportedly received offers from several organizations as he decides his future.
Bringing Wainwright back should help the Cardinals solve the question of who will fill one of the spots in their rotation behind Jack Flaherty, Kwang Hyun Kim and Miles Mikolas, who returns in 2021 after missing the shortened 2020 season following surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.
Wainwright is coming off a bounceback season, which included throwing a complete-game victory over the Indians on his 39th birthday. In 10 starts he was 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA.
This will be Wainwright’s 16th season with the Cardinals, where he ranks near the top of almost all of the franchise’s pitching categories.
The Cardinals are scheduled to begin spring training on Feb. 17 in Jupiter, Fla.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports