It’s important to emphasize at the outset: I would never wish an injury on a ballplayer simply because he plays for an opposing team. Especially not a serious injury.

That said, the Cubs’ chances in the Central may have improved with the news that Adam Wainwright, at times the best pitcher in the NL Central, has a “significant” right elbow injury, which may result in Tommy John surgery. Wainwright, who is signed to a sweetheart deal through this season, with two relatively inexpensive club options in 2012 and 2013, would miss a year and a half if he underwent surgery. He’s headed back to St. Louis to be examined.

The Cardinals are expected to look at picking up a veteran starter like Kevin Millwood, but replacing Wainwright’s production at this point will be impossible. Their lineup remains formidable, but the loss of Wainwright would take the Cardinals’ rotation from the best or second best in the Central to perhaps the third or fourth – notably, behind the Cubs.

  • jonathan

    I’d like to be the first to congratulate kevin millwood on his 2011 Cy Young.

    • Ace

      Oh yeah; I forgot to mention the voodoo magic. Good call.

    • Cardfan

      I have to mention, Jonathan, that was one of the greatest first posts in my history with BN.

  • wax_eagle

    Those 2 option years become really interesting if he does have surgery (which seems pretty certain if its being reported). Do the Cards pick up the affordable options and bank on him being the same guy he was before the surgery or do they let the options slip in the hopes that they can sign him to a reasonable deal anyways. If they let him go he might be a nice risk/reward play next off season for someone.

    • Dave

      Since everyone loves being a Cardinal I expect him to sign a minor league deal that guarantees him league minimum if he makes the team, like Pujols did.

  • Dan0mite

    Could this be a blessing in disguise for the Cards? The issue with signing Pujols is their lack of money. If Wainright is injured they have a legitimate reason to not pick up his options without the fan base freaking out. This gives the Cards some flexibility that they didn’t have during the off season negotiations.

    • 1060Ivy

      Losing a Cy Young candidate in February is never considered a blessing in disguise. The money doesn’t match up. Cardinals potentially lose 2 inexpensive years from an overachieving pitcher to spend it on a position player that they already have. My guess is that they end up picking up a veteran or 3 to make up for the slack in the rotation.

      Of course, it being the Cardinals some punk off the street might develop into another Cardinal ace pitching 220 innings and winning 20 games despite never seeing a MLB park before this season.

  • Cardfan

    Hey Dusty, wanna check out the load I just dropped under my chair after finding out about this?

    There ain’t enough voodoo to make up for this…

  • jstraw

    Wainwright was destined for TJ someday. Is that a good thing?


    Is it a good thing that the inevitable happened *while* he was important to the Cardinals?

    Oh, yes.