St. Louis Cardinals: An Old Friend to Fix A Lingering Problem

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Trevor Rosenthal #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on August 12, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Trevor Rosenthal #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on August 12, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals Could Cure their Bullpen Woes of Tomorrow by Signing the Closer from Yester-year.

The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the worst bullpens in major league baseball.  The bullpen hit a new low last night when it lost Daniel Poncedeleon’s no-hitter and then lost the game in a two-inning span.  These blunders occurred with the Birds sending their best two bullpen pieces out.  Enough is enough with this bullpen.  It is time to rehabilitate the bullpen for now and for the future.

The St. Louis Cardinals already missed out on buy-low candidate Alex Colome and probably could have worked an early steal by trading Carson Kelly for Brad Hand.  Those pieces are now gone, but the team can start its bullpen rebuild by signing an old flame.

That’s right, Trevor Rosenthal – or “Closenthal” appears to be recovering well for his rehab and he is in a position to audition for teams.  The St. Louis Cardinals should waste no time and sign Rosenthal to a two-year deal that will allow him to continue his rehab and come back with the team that drafted him.

It is rare that a 28-year-old closer with a career sub-3.00 ERA, 121 career saves, and who averages 12 strikeouts per nine innings becomes available for bargain prices, but that is the situation with Rosenthal.  The St. Louis Cardinals should jump on this opportunity even if it is a move for the future rather than a move for this year (frankly, this year’s team does not deserve an impact move with the way it is performing).

Even if the Cardinals need to offer a three-year deal to get Closenthal back at the end of the bullpen, it will be worth it.  The guy is a workhorse and he succeeds on the largest of stages.  In addition, Trevor would be a great first addition to next year’s re-worked bullpen.

Other Bullpen Targets for the St. Louis Cardinals in Free Agency or Trade

The St. Louis Cardinals should rebuild the bullpen through free agency.  There are several great pieces available in free agency that the team should target. The first name that comes to mind, is former Cardinal Joe Kelly.  Kelly is a great bullpen piece and the guy throws really hard.  Can you imagine the three-headed hydra that is Kelly, Rosenthal, and Hicks in this bullpen?  That will send shivers down the spine of any team.

Other great options that are available are Craig Kimbrel, Kelvin Herrera, Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, Adam Ottavino (another former Cardinal), Cody Allen, and Jeurys Familia.  There exists so much talent in the upcoming free agent reliever market that many of these guys will be available for a bargain.

The St. Louis Cardinals should seriously consider locking down a few of these guys because what we currently have is unacceptable.  Even transitioning starting pitchers from Memphis into relievers is a serious consideration at this point.

Who Stays and Who Goes in the St. Louis Cardinals Bullpen?

Of the current bullpen, Greg Holland, Brett Cecil, Tyler Lyons, and Matt Bowman need to all be gone.  After that, there is some intrigue that some of these guys could recover and be serviceable (although I think Sam Tuivailala is basically dead to the organization).

Mike Mayers should be given a longer look and John Brebbia has shown an ability to perform for this club and should stay.  Other than that, it may be time to separate the wheat from the chaff – and that includes cutting ties with a guy like Luke Gregerson.  I would, however, be in favor of re-upping Bud Norris on a 2-3 year deal.  He has shown good tenacity and he offers role flexibility that most others on the team cannot.

Should the St. Louis Cardinals Make A Trade for a Reliever Now?

I am of the opinion that the fourth-place St. Louis Cardinals should do a soft-sell and unclog the roster, rather than adding a big bullpen piece to try and fix this team now.  That said, if the team would like to acquire a reliever with a few years of team control, I am in favor of that approach.  Raisel Iglesias, for example, is rumored to be available for the right price.  This is the type of controllable young bullpen asset that the Cardinals should seriously consider.

Other names that come to mind are Kyle Barraclough, Shane Greene, Kirby Yates, and Keone Kela.  I am not in favor of trading for a reliever when there are so many options available in free agency next year.

If the St. Louis Cardinals want to go the trade route, however, I would be in favor of the team acquiring a durable starting pitcher – who can pitch into the seventh inning – instead of a reliever as an alternative way to rest the bullpen.  It is time for this team to make a splash for a top-line starting pitcher.

Guys like Chris Archer, Jacob DeGrom, and Noah Syndergaard are rumored to be available and come with team control at a low cost.  While the acquisition cost would be high for these guys, they are ace-level pitchers that can pitch deep in games.

Next: Innovative Approach to Fixing the Bullpen

Is there anything that can be done about the bullpen this year?  I think there are too many problems to fix it.  That said, what do you think about some of the proposed names in free agency such as Trevor Rosenthal?  Should the St. Louis Cardinals take a flyer on him?  Let us know on Twitter!

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