St. Louis Cardinals: Five Free Agent Pitchers the Team Can Reboot

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Apr 27, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey (41) throws to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the seventh inning at Busch Stadium. The Phillies defeated the Cardinals 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure many of you are disappointed the St. Louis Cardinals don’t have the kind of all-you-can-eat-buffet of a budget the Los Angeles Dodgers have. The team would simply buy David PriceZack Greinke and maybe Jordan Zimmerman and be done with it. Boom. World Series, here we come.

But that’s not the way the Redbirds do business. And actually, that’s fine, because the organization has a great track record of picking up wayward pitchers and putting them back on track. It’s amazing what can happen when a player is put in a winning environment.

Pre-Cardinals John Lackey had an ERA under 4.00 in Boston, but those Red Sox years were tempestuous. There was the 6+ ERA year of 2011. The lost 2012. His failure, beyond the first year of his contract, to go 200 innings in a season. All the luster from his years with the Los Angeles Angels was gone. But now, after a 33-start, 218-inning sub-3.00 ERA season in St. Louis, it’s back. As much as it can be for a 37-year-old, anyway. 

Before Lackey, there was Kyle Lohse, whose 2012 season with the Cardinals remains the pinnacle of his 15-year career. Remember Jeff Suppan? His 2005 season in St. Louis was arguably his best. Woody Williams‘ lone All-Star season came as a 36-year-old Cardinals starter in 2003. So who’s next? Who will be the reclamation project in 2016?