St. Louis Cardinals: This is the Cardinals bullpen, seriously
The St. Louis Cardinals front office and ownership promised change this offseason. Unfortunately, they have only partially followed through.
This past weekend marked the annual Winter Warm-up. A yearly event where fans get to interact with their favorite players, and are reminded baseball is just around the corner. At this event countless interviews are done and one of those interviews stuck out. When asked about any potential moves for the team, St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill Dewitt Jr said he didn’t expect a “major move” to be made.
This isn’t a terribly shocking statement. Unfortunately, it has become par for the course. This team still has clear issues but they front office and ownership are in no rush to fill those. They constantly sit back and have a wait and see approach. This can be called a commitment to their minor league players or it can be called being cheap, which side you fall on is personal opinion.
For myself and a lot of fans, no more moves is unacceptable. Adding Marcell Ozuna was great. It showed some life and commitment to changing things. No other big moves though, shows this organization’s definition of commitment to winning is different than their fan base. Adding Luke Gregerson was a nice addition, but is it ok if he is the only addition to the bullpen? Does the front office consider Alex Reyes as an “addition” to the bullpen? These are questions that should really be answered.
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Last season the Cardinals bullpen was abysmal. Jump to this year and that abysmal bullpen has lost actual good pieces. There is no more Trevor Rosenthal, no more Juan Nicasio, and less disappointing no more Seung-hwan Oh.
The St. Louis Cardinals could have easily brought back Nicasio, but they didn’t. They could have easily signed Addison Reed, they didn’t. Greg Holland is still on the market and the Cardinals could sign him, but they probably won’t.
The two biggest weaknesses for this team were middle of the order and bullpen. Ozuna fills a hole, no question, but that’s just one of many holes.
Luke Gregerson will fill a hole as well, but asking him to be this team’s closer is probably asking too much. For a team that saw how important the bullpen was, the signings to fix it, or lack thereof, have been in a word, disappointing.
Can this team overcome the bullpen this season? Sure, it’s possible. Alex Reyes should be in the pen for an unknown amount of time. There are other minor leaguers this team has faith in that should fill bullpen roles. The offense should be playing at a higher level. The starting rotation should eat up innings. There is a lot of “should” in those statements. What happens when should turns into didn’t? Can the bullpen be successful if everything doesn’t go exactly right?
Next: Molina retiring after the 2020 season
There are still options for this team. Tony Watson and Greg Holland each remain free agents. Roberto Osuna and Alex Colome could still be potential returns in a trade. The Cardinals do not have to go into the 2018 season as is when it comes to the bullpen. For the fan’s sake, hopefully the front office will realize that. It would be really disappointing for this team’s success to again be limited by a poor bullpen.