St. Louis Cardinals: External Bullpen Trade Options

Apr 19, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Matt Bowman (67) pitches during the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Matt Bowman (67) pitches during the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports /

St. Louis Cardinals fans have had to hold their breath when Matheny goes to the bullpen quite a bit this season. A few moves could go a long way to easing their worry and winning more games.

Calling this season up and down thus far for the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen would be an understatement. After starting out as one of the worst bullpens in the league the bullpen seemed to make a complete 180.

Unfortunately, it appears were in the middle of a downturn. As the bullpen goes, so does this team. There is only so much a team’s starters can do to secure a win. The bullpen has to protect the lead and that is something the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen has struggled to do.

Fellow Redbird Rants writer Nathan Grime wrote about in-house fixes for the bullpen. Inside options are great, but there may be other options outside of the organization to look at. The Cardinals may need Mo to get creative to help fix the issues facing the bullpen.

In a previous post, I wrote that the Cardinal’s may be able to make a deal with their neighbors in Kansas City. The Kansas City Royals are at the bottom of the AL-Central and things are not looking up. Calling the Royals about Kelvin Herrera would be quite the move. He obviously adds a power arm to a bullpen that has been mixing and matching guys to fill out the roster.

Adding a guy like Kelvin Herrera opens up the possibilities of removing a guy who has struggled to be effective for quite some time in Johnathon Broxton.

Herrera has a high K-rate, and a low ERA. There isn’t much more you can ask for out of a back-end arm. With the Royals struggles and aging roster, it would make sense for them to try to move a valuable piece to help stock up on young guys– something the St. Louis Cardinals have found themselves with more of than expected.

A veteran we have all gotten to know previously could be a key piece in the run for the postseason. Pat Neshek was an effective reliever for the Cardinals in 2014 and the Phillies will assuredly be sellers come the deadline. The Phillies are closer to potentially succeeding, but this is not the year and Neshek is not a piece for the future.

Thus far this season Neshek has posted a 1.10 ERA through 18 appearances. Neshek would not have to anchor the pen, those roles are handled. His role would come into play as someone to be a consistent cog in the machine; a guy Matheny can throw out on the mound and won’t have fans holding their breath.

The risk is minimal, Neshek becomes a free agent at the end of the year and will not be someone the Cardinals will have to invest years and money into.

The St. Louis Cardinals have very recently been considered bridesmaids, not the bride. Losing out on multiple free agents and being “second” in bidding. If the Cardinals don’t want to miss out on a top reliever at the market they may have to pay a hefty price. There will be quite a few high-priced relievers on the market, potentially none more expensive than Alex Colome.

The Tampa Bay Rays, much like the Kansas City Royals are not at the top of their division and could take a turn at any moment to become sellers. If the Rays become sellers, Colome will likely be on the move. His value will be high and the return will be pricey for any team trying to acquire his services. If the Cardinals were to add Colome, they would have to commit to him being their closer going forward.

Colome is not eligible for free agency until 2021 and his career ERA of 3.03 will have many GMs salivating at potentially adding his arm. Coming off an All-Star season that saw Alex Colome put up phenomenal numbers including a 1.91 ERA and an 11.3 K/9. Colome has continued his success thus far this season with a 2.25 ERA and a 7.7 K/9.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

The Cardinals of the past were known to take risks. Taking a chance on a guy, knowing he was not a star but had shown a limited amount of success. In acquiring these players the Cardinals had hoped they would be able to help this player take the next step and in turn found themselves a steal. Much like Pat Neshek the Philadelphia Phillies have another reliever who fits the bill for a trade deadline deal.

After what was his most successful season, Jeanmar Gomez found himself with 37 saves. Turn to this year and Gomez has lost his role as closer and seen his ERA at its highest in his entire career. This is the type of deal that Mo loves, buy low on a guy and hope the pitching staff can get the most out of him that they can.

This type of deal has worked in the past. Edward Mujica and Pat Neshek were both guys the Cardinals took on and found great success. At the end of their time with the Cardinals each pitcher found themselves signing lucrative deals with other teams. Jeanmar Gomez could be the next in line of diamond in the rough additions for the Cardinals.

Next: Podcast episode 3

Whether it be through additions or in-house options, it is imperative that the Cardinals and Mozeliak make some changes to the bullpen. The team will ride the success of the starting pitching and the lineup, but it will only go as far as the bullpen will allow it. Making one or two additions before the trade deadline will be key to this team’s success and potential playoff run.