ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Adam Wainwright knows questions about his legacy in St. Louis will be what surrounds him this year. It’s the last year of his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and his future in baseball in undetermined.
Those will be the headlines, but he says that won’t be his focus.
“What I’m doing now is trying to be present, I’m trying to live in the present and in the now. Last year, at the beginning of the season I was feeling great, but I was pitching terrible and I was just thinking, you know what, if I’m going to be average at this game – I don’t want to be average, I want to be great. I know I can be great but if I can’t be, then and I’d rather next year be the last the last one.”
It was at the start of May that the now 36-year-old Wainwright first had the thought that 2018 might be the last year of his career. It’s the final year of his 5-year, $97.5 million contract and the title of the Cardinals No. 1 starter now rests with Carlos Martinez.
Wainwright’s ERA was above six after his first seven starts of 2017, but he then had a stretch of four starts from May 14 to June 1 where threw 26.1 innings and allowed just one run. That stretch included shutouts against both the Chicago Cubs (2017 NL Central champs) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2017 NL pennant winners).
“And I thought, you know what this is more like it, like this is fun and I want to do this for a lot more years. And I want to do it only in St Louis,” Wainwright says.
Wainwright’s 2017 was plagued with nagging injuries, eventually leading to arthroscopic elbow surgery in mid-August. He ended the year with a 5.11 ERA in 123.1 innings pitched, walked 3.3 per nine but struck out seven per nine. It was down year, but still not far off from his career average of 7.5 strikeouts per nine.
So he has a plan for 2018:
“I’m not going to think about the past any more, I’m not going to think about the future. I’m going to think about where I’m at right now. I’m going to work my hardest to be as good as I can be in that moment and we’ll see what happens,” Wainwright says.
You can listen to the full conversation Wainwright had with our Chris Hrabe below, he was a guest on Friday’s Sports Open Line:
Excited to talk about the offseason acquisition of Marcell Ozuna, Wainwright is looking forward to working with the former Miami outfielder who he called “one of the best hitters in the National League.”
“His bat path has got so much better, it’s so long through the zone and it’s such an easy swing he’s so big and strong he doesn’t have to work real hard to get it to go a long,” Wainwright says.
Hrabe pointed out, it’s nice to now have two St. Louis Cardinals with Silver Sluggers – Wainwright won his in 2017 after hitting .262 with two homeruns and 11 RBI.