St. Louis Cardinals: A Bullpen of Closers


The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen is locked and loaded heading into the 2016 season.

Pick a closer. Any closer. The St. Louis Cardinals are stocked with various closer types, which should make life easier on the rotation and make the difference late in games if the team once again averages 2-3 runs per game.

There aren’t many teams in the league who can say four pitchers in their pen can close out the ninth inning. Trevor Rosenthal has nearly 100 saves in the past two plus seasons. Returning arm Jordan Walden had a 30 save season with the Texas Rangers. Jonathan Broxton owns 118 career saves. Kevin Siegrist closed a few games last year and has the arsenal of pitches to handle it. Newcomer Seung-Hwan Oh aka “Stone Buddha” aka “Final Boss” had his fair share of saves in Korea before signing with the Cards this month. 25 year old converted shortstop Sam Tuivailala lurks in the background as a potential late inning executioner.

The Cards had one of the best bullpens in baseball in 2015 and it will only improve in 2016. Softer throwing yet versatile Seth Maness and hopeful new bullpen long man Tyler Lyons will just add to the intrigue down in the pen. Combine that with the load of righthanded power arms, and National League teams will have their hands full.

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One of the quiet strengths the Cards have gathered this offseason is a strength in pitching. They lost Lance Lynn and John Lackey but signed Mike Leake and get a guy by the name of Adam Wainwright back in the fray to go with a healthy Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, and a hungry Jaime Garcia. Critics may point to the factor that only one pitcher has a 200 inning season outside of Wainwright(Leake in 2014) but that is where the dynamic pen comes into play.

If spring training started today and the arms were fresh and ready to fire, think about this firepower coming in late to games.

7th inning-Oh

8th inning-Siegrist

9th inning-Rosenthal

There will be a Loogy in there somewhere with the subtraction of Randy “I may face one guy and walk him” Choate, and it may be Memphis’ Dean Kiekhofer. The Cards will more than likely start the season with 12 pitchers and 13 position players. It all comes down to whether Walden is ready(reports say he will be), where Lyons ends up, and if the team carries a Loogy or not. Maybe the Cards go without a Loogy and thrive off the strength of their closer packed pen to start the season.

Next: Who is odd outfielder out?

Whatever mix manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist go with, the combination will be painful for other teams to handle. The big concern in 2015 was the overusage of Rosenthal and Siegrist, which fried the latter’s arm in the playoffs. The addition of Oh and the return of Walden should help there.

When I think of Rosenthal, Siegrist, Walden, Oh, Brox, and Maness lining up to face opposing teams, I think of Doc Holliday telling his foe in Tombstone, “Say when.”