The 2015 Cardinals bullpen was the best in the business in 2015. Let’s get that out of the way now, because ever since the season ended speculation about big changes to the pen has popped on on the World Wide Web. Spurring the chatter is the end of lefthanded relief specialty Randy Choate‘s three-year run in St. Louis. His contract is up and, after not retiring a single batter in 20 of his 71 appearances this year, he won’t be asked back.
The Cardinals could choose to fill Choate’s old role with internal option Dean Kiekhefer, who has posted two straight seasons of sub-3.00 ERAs in the upper levels of the Cards’ system. But general manager John Mozeliak has said he prefers more versatility in the pen for 2016. And that’s good, because he has plenty of options within the organization at his disposal. The thing is, will manager Mike Matheny trust anyone not named Siegrist, Maness and Rosenthal? With all the pitchers on the next few pages, he should.