Adam Wainwright returning to Cardinals for one final season

ST. LOUIS — Veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright has informed the St. Louis Cardinals that he will return in ’23 — which will be his last in the majors.

Cardinals president John Mozeliak confirmed on Wednesday during a press conference that the 41-year-old Wainwright will return for an 18th season with the franchise. Mozeliak and manager Oliver Marmol said several times throughout the 2022 season that they wanted Wainwright back because of his vast abilities and for the immense leadership he brings to the pitching staff.

“He and I started talking about this in early September, and obviously, the September didn’t go as he wanted it to, but we really do feel like there’s something left in that tank,” said Mozeliak, who also announced four members of the Cardinals’ coaching staff won’t return for 2023. “We all know how competitive [Wainwright] is, we know how special he is in that clubhouse and what he means to this organization. So we’re just glad we could get it done.”

Ever so humble, Wainwright doesn’t want the fact that it’s his final season to distract from his focus of trying to win another World Series title.

“I have so many distractions as it is, and I don’t need any more,” Wainwright said. “If I tell you it’s the last one, then I’ve got to go through a bunch of stuff. … My main focus of playing next year is to go out and win and help this team win.

“Long story short: Yes, this will be the last one,” Wainwright added. “Everybody relax and let me pitch. Let me go out and perform and not freak out about it every single day, and let’s see what happens.”

Currently at 195 career victories, Wainwright should be able to reach 200 wins and potentially make a run at 210 victories, which would tie him for the second most in franchise history behind only Bob Gibson (251). He said 212 career wins — which would require him to match his 2021 win total of 17 victories — is a number he is hoping to exceed. Reason being? Because it would allow him to pass Hall of Famer and close friend John Smoltz.

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