ST. LOUIS — The free-agent hot stove season is heating up quickly, and reports say one of the most beloved members of the Cardinals is drawing interest from his hometown team.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that sources have told him the Atlanta Braves have reached out to the cardinals veteran and are interested in bringing him in to join their starting rotation.
Wainwright has a number of ties to Georgia and the Braves organization. Wainwright was born and raised in Georgia and was drafted in the first round of the 2000 MLB draft by his hometown Atlanta Braves.
Wainwright reached the Double-A level in the Braves system before being traded to St. Louis in 2003. He was as a part of the deal that sent J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero to the Braves and Jason Marquis and Ray King back to St. Louis. Wainwright's Double-A manager, Brian Snitker is now the manager of the Braves.
Wainwright made his MLB debut in 2005, and became a fan favorite in 2006 when he closed out the team's 10th World Series championship.
Wainwright was the runner up for the National League Cy Young Award twice in his 15 years with the Cardinals.
Wainwright had a resurgence in late 2019 and in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, making him an interesting free agent this offseason.
He was 5-1 in September of 2019 and had an 11-strikeout game in the 2019 NLCS, and was the Cardinals' best starter throughout 2020. He finished 10th in the National League in ERA and tied for the league lead in complete games.
Wainwright is one of three high-profile Cardinals to hit the free-agent market. Yadier Molina longtime battery-mate Yadier Molina, and Gold Glove infielder Kolten Wong are both free agents as well.
Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said he intends to have conversations with Wainwright and Molina's agents this week. Mozeliak said the team may pursue a deal with Wong as well.