St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes should start 2018 in the minors

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 27: Starter Alex Reyes
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 27: Starter Alex Reyes /

The St. Louis Cardinals have many decisions facing them as spring training approaches. One of the most important will focus on the return of their fire-baller.

This might not be the most popular opinion, but Alex Reyes should definitely start the 2018 campaign in the minors for the St. Louis Cardinals. There, I’ve said it. If you hate me for this statement already, then this is likely not the article for you. If you are intrigued, then buckle up and hold on.

The St. Louis Cardinals could 100 percent use the services of Alex Reyes in 2018. That is without question. The real issue here is whether Reyes (and his surgically-repaired arm) is ready to supply the type of help needed right out of the gate.

Enter the importance of spring training. As Tony La Russa believed, the outcome of spring training games (wins or losses) is unimportant. This truism remains and is even more highlighted through the Reyes lens. In other words, who cares whether the St. Louis Cardinals win or lose spring training games so long as the team and fans learn more about Reyes this spring.

To me, there are two likely outcomes from the performance or performances that Reyes presents this spring. He will either show up and show out (in a positive way), thus showing that he is ready to serve as either a starter or a back-of-the-pen kind of guy in 2018. The other option is that he shows up at spring training and shows that his arm just isn’t quite ready for action.

I’m inclined to lean more toward the first option, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the second option either. In truth, I’m much more inclined to believe that fans will likely see some kind of marriage of the two options above.

Let’s assume both options then. What does this suggest about Reyes? I don’t think- in all honesty- that the options actually matter. To me, I think the best choice for Reyes would be to start 2018 in Memphis.

No, I’m not just advocating this so that I can watch Reyes with my own eyes with ease since I reside in Memphis and attend the Redbird games covering them for this wonderful site. I am suggesting this option for the following reasons:

More from St Louis Cardinals News

  • Lower stress. I believe that Reyes would benefit from beginning the season in Memphis facing AAA batters (albeit some of them only marginally removed from the majors). I believe the lack of stress will allow Alex the ability to hone his craft following his surgery. This will be very important as any pitcher will have a remarkable change to their delivery following surgery. Why frustrate Reyes if he is to be shelled by MLB hitters? Why not ease him back?
  • Role refinement. At this point it seems that the St. Louis Cardinals aren’t sold on what to do with Reyes. Should they make him a starter? Should he appear as the closer? Starting in the minors will allow the organization to make a decision based on Reyes’ abilities and those of the other members on the Cardinals squad. Based on this decision, his time in the minors can be geared toward honing the craft of the specific role.
  • Workload control. The organization has already stated that they intend to monitor and control Alex Reyes’ workload in 2018. Having him start the season in the minors will allow the organization to not only control Reyes’ workload but also will afford the team the chance to not “lose” time that Reyes would fill in the majors where another pitcher might more easily fill (at the start at least).

I am not the only one thinking along these lines. St. Louis Cardinals’ manager, Mike Matheny, talked Alex Reyes on Monday. Here’s what he had to say:

I am usually someone who adamantly disagrees with the thinking of Matheny so color me surprised that I agree with the sentiment of providing time in the minors for Alex. Having said that, I’m inclined to believe that this idea is not the making of Matheny but more probably originating with Mike Maddux or John Mozeliak.

And that is THE idea that I can support: Alex Reyes should start 2018 in the minors. I do not, however, feel that his stay there will be long.

Next: Are the Cardinals acting too slowly?

What do you think? Would you push Reyes into a starting role right out of the gate? Would you have him spend time in the pen? Would you even entertain him as the closer? Let me know on Twitter and thanks for reading!