CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 23: Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 23, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

These three St. Louis Cardinals free agents will not be back for the 2023 season.

The St. Louis Cardinals always seem to find a way to compete. They’re pretty much a lock to capture the National League Central this season with a strong core of players. Several of them will, however, not return for the 2023 season.

Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina are on known retirement tours. Each on expiring contracts, they are two of the free agents that won’t be coming back to St. Louis next year. What about everyone else?

It’s these three Cardinals free agents we should expect to end up elsewhere.

1) Cardinals legend Adam Wainwright will also call it a career

Adam Wainwright has been an incredibly important part of Cardinals history. Even this year he has been effective for them. Could he return to them next season?

If Wainwright doesn’t retire, the Cardinals would be the likeliest destination for him to end up. Another team could look to sign him to a one-year contract but the Cardinals would be without question the favorite to employ him next year.

As good as Wainwright has been, the desire to retire on his own terms should be something to consider. Far too many athletes hang on a little too long. Regardless of whether or not the Cardinals win a championship this season, it’s a good guess to believe this is his last year pitching in Major League Baseball.

Wainwright has been one of the best National League pitchers for a good decade and a half. He might not be on any official retirement tour like two of his teammates. What else would we expect from him? He’s not there to grab anyone’s spotlight. Wainwright is on a mission to win. There will be plenty of time for applause when he comes back to the ballpark after his playing days are over.

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