ST. LOUIS — "This is it."
Adam Wainwright will embark on his final season in Major League Baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. While it might not be as big of a sendoff compared to Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, it will surely be a big year for the team.
Wainwright discussed the end of the 2022 season and postseason, the Cardinals' new catcher Willson Contreras and the future of the organization.
2022 postseason, goals for 2023
"I think failure is what drives you more than success," Wainwright said.
After an early exit from the 2022 postseason, Adam Wainwright was not happy with the way the season ended.
After blown leads and pitching struggles, the Cardinals lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in two games in the National League Wild Card Series.
"I failed in September and didn't pitch like I should of, didn't pitch like I could of. It drove me crazy," he said.
Wainwright shared his struggles after the season ended with a note to fans on what happened at the end of the 2022 season and why he didn't perform to the expectation of fans.
In an explanation to fans after their playoff exit in October, Wainwright explained the struggles he faced at the end of the regular season. Wainwright tweeted, "who knows what happens if I'm sharp down the stretch," if he was healthy after what had happened to him.
He said he felt like he had more to give after the end of the season and feels as though this is a World Series team he is coming back to.
After he and Yadier Molina etched their name in MLB history with the most starts as a battery, Wainwright will chase another record.
He currently sits as third in most wins for a Cardinals pitcher. While he won't reach Bob Gibson's 251, he has a chance to claim second from Jesse Haines with 210.
Wainwright currently sits at 195 wins.
"Jess is at 210, I think, and it sounds like a good round number to pass. 200 is not a good goal for me, that's just 5 for me," he said.
Wainwright was hesitant to call Willson Contreras his new catcher, saying Molina watches his interviews.
"I know Yadi listens to these things," Wainwright said regarding his new catcher. "I'm excited Contreras is a Cardinal."
"But I do have a new catcher," he said. Wainwright turned towards the camera and made sure Molina was still his favorite. "Yadi, you'll always be my catcher."
"But, I'm looking forward to playing catch with Willy this year," he said. Contreras signed with the Cardinals during the offseason for a five-year, $87.5 million contract to fill Molina's shoes.
After Pujols and Molina retired, Goldschmidt and Arenado became the faces and leaders of the team.
Wainwright believed as well they are the faces of the organization now even though they haven't spent their whole career here like Pujols and Molina.
"I think Goldy may have started somewhere else but I don't know how, because he seems like he has always been a Cardinal, been a perfect Cardinal in every shape and way," Wainwright said.
He went on to say how grateful he is for Arenado opting to stay in St. Louis with the Cardinals organization. Arenado turned down his opt-outs and decided to stay with the team. His contract runs through the 2027 season.
"That was a great moment for me as a Cardinal," he said. "Because a couple of years ago people were leaving here and going other places that had the bright futures, that had the younger players."
Wainwright also said Arenado could have easily gotten more money if he opted out and went to another team, but he stayed here.
"When you got corners like we have, that finished two out of the three MVP votes, people want to be a part of that," he said about other players wanting to come here.