St. Louis Cardinals: Bullpen help could be on the way

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Reliever Zach Duke
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Reliever Zach Duke /

The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen has been a giant disappointment this year, but help might just be on the way.

After being added to the team in 2016, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Zach Duke to be a shutdown lefty. In twenty-eight appearances, Duke held up his end of the bargain by posting a 1.93 ERA. Unfortunately, in the following off-season, Duke required Tommy John surgery.

For most pitchers this would make 2017 a basically lost season. However, Duke looks to be on the path back to the majors. For a Cardinals bullpen that has been in disarray all season, Duke would be a welcomed commodity.

Duke has rehabbed in hopes of making a return to St. Louis this season. Last week, he took a step towards real progress in achieving that goal. Duke pitched in two games for the GCL Cardinals last week, both outings being one inning. Duke did not surrender a run either of those outings.

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For a bullpen that has been a revolving door of disappointment, Duke represents a potential move that doesn’t require this team to lose anything. Instead of having to trade for a reliever, this team could just activate Duke.

However, this move can’t be the only move this team makes if they are truly serious about competing this season. This move would offer some leeway in what the team will potentially go out and get.

Adding Duke to the roster would help fill a gap that has seen, Jonathan Broxton, John Gant, Miguel Socolovich and now Mike Mayers all try to fill.

Gant would also bring a veteran presence to the bullpen, something that will assuredly catch Matheny’s eye. In turn, this could allow for guys like Matt Bowman to see a bit more rest. Having more guys Matheny actually trusts could go a long way in preserving this bullpen.

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There are still a few hurdles for Zach Duke on his way back to the majors. Seeing how his body responds to back to back pitching days will be key. Another hurdle will be facing stronger competition. Expect to see Duke slowly make his way through the Cardinals farm system through the coming weeks. If Duke can actually make his way back to the roster, be assured he will be a welcomed surprise.