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The Cardinals are bringing back Adam Wainwright on 1-year deal

The 39-year-old Cardinals legend will return to St. Louis for another season wearing the birds on the bat

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals have secured at least one of their free-agent icons for 2021.

5 On Your Side sports director Frank Cusumano confirmed through a source Thursday night that starting pitcher Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals had agreed to a one-year deal for 2021. Cusumano reports the deal is for $8 million guaranteed.

The Cardinals confirmed the one-year deal Friday morning.

"We are pleased to announce that Adam is returning for the upcoming season, and we look forward to seeing him continue to add to his great Cardinals legacy," Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said in a news release. "While he continues to pitch at a high level, Adam also remains a highly-respected team leader who has committed himself to being a wonderful ambassador for both the game and his community."

"#12in21.   Let's get it.  Go @Cardinals," Wainwright tweeted Friday morning.

Wainwright, 39, has only ever played for the Cardinals, debuting with the team back in 2005 and closing out the World Series in 2006.

Last season, Wainwright was perhaps the team's best starter, going 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 10 starts. He also pitched two complete games in the pandemic-shortened season.

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.

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.

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