The Cardinals have gotten fantastic work from Adam Wainwright for the bulk of his career, and that’s again been the case in 2021. Despite having just turned 40 years old, the veteran right-hander has been one of the better pitchers in the National League. With no signs of diminishing effectiveness, Wainwright intends to return for the 2022 season, he tells Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat (Twitter link).
Wainwright was a multi-time All-Star and Cy Young award contender at his peak from 2009-14, but he looked to have lost some effectiveness in the immediate aftermath of an April 2015 Achilles tear. The veteran had his worst four seasons from 2016-19, looking as if he’d settled in as more a competent back-of-the-rotation arm than the ace-caliber hurler he’d been earlier in his career.
That changed last season, when Wainwright posted a 3.15 ERA over 65 2/3 innings. Because of the truncated nature of the 2020 campaign, it seemed easy to write that level of performance off as a sample size blip and expect Wainwright to return to something closer to the cumulative 4.58 ERA he’d managed over the prior four seasons.