I love Adam Wainwright (in a completely nonsextual baseball way, of course - not that there's anything wrong with it). My love for him started in early 2006 - as he slowly worked his way up to become one of our primary setup men. He seemed fearless. And that curve...oh that sweet curve. October 2006 just confirmed what I already knew - this guy had the heart and guts to do really special things. When he faltered in early 2007, I was heartbroken, despondent and confused. His absolutely incredible second half was vindicating.
This season has been disappointing because of a freak injury to his finger. But nothing has been more disappointing than the way in which Adam has been jerked around by TLR/Dunc et al. in his rehab. From being told he was going to be in the bullpen, to upping his pitch count (but still being vague on his role), to suggesting that if Carpenter were healthy we wouldn't NEED our other ace and he could go to long relief.
Well, yesterday Adam did something extraordinary (again). He publicly called everyone out on this bullshit. He refused to sit back and let his situation be messed with any longer. Now he could've been the good soldier (like so many boring ball players before him) and spew some bullshit about "I just want to help my team win....whatever role Tony thinks is good, is fine with me".
But this is what he said:
"I’m ready," Wainwright insisted. "If they told me that I’m starting tomorrow, I’d feel ready except for that I just threw a side. I’m ready to face hitters in the big leagues. I know I can get guys out now."...."It’s frustrating to know I’m ready to pitch and I don’t have a role,"..."I would only speculate that I’m starting. But I don’t know that. I think it all depends on how No. 29 [Carpenter] feels."
He made clear he wants to start, but also, that he can help the team win:
"I can still have that good end to the year. I know I can help this team win. I know this team has a great chance to win. I’m excited to be part of it. I just don’t know which role yet."
The way he phrases it starkly illustrates the insanity with which he is being handled. He's ready; he wants to help; but he doesn't even know his role. How is that possible???
As recently as yesterday Mo was suggesting (RIDICULOUSLY) that Adam might go into long relief. Essentially Brad Thompson's role. Adam didn't mince words with his thoughts about this.
"I don’t even want to talk about middle relief," Wainwright said, adding, "I don’t think they’d put me in the bullpen to be a middle reliever. I just don’t see the value of me there."
What about a 4th rehab outing?
...the pitcher said he would be "incredibly disappointed" to learn [about another rehab outing].
"I wouldn’t feel right about it," Wainwright added. "Everybody wants to play in the big leagues."
What is so great about this is the public nature of Wainwright's intransigence is that it might just force TLR/Dunc's hand into doing what everyone knows is logical and necessary.
La Russa seemed to make room for Wainwright’s return as a starter.
"They’re together but there’s enough separation that I think you’ve got to do what’s best for Adam and our club right now, and then get Carp’ ready as soon as we can and see where we are," La Russa said....
Wainwright’s candidness before media and in a subsequent meeting with La Russa seemed to jumble that equation....
"I would probably prefer it if he had said he would come back however we needed him," La Russa said. "I know he wants to be a starter. He’s worked to be a starter all year long. He’s having a terrific season as a starter. But I know he’ll do whatever we need."
Kudos, Adam. Every day my love for you grows stronger. Now not only have you proved yourself a stealth competitor on the mound, you also show yourself to be a shrewd politician; not below manipulating a situation to get what you (and so many others) want. Lets hope TLR/Dunc aren't so stubborn that they will ignore this public outcry. If Wainwright is put into the bullpen after this, they risk not only the team's performance, but also their relationship with one of the key starting pitchers for this franchise into 2009 and beyond.