Arbitration avoided for St. Louis Cardinals and once struggling Alex Reyes

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Yadier Molina #4 congratulates Alex Reyes #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals after defeating the San Diego Padres 7-4 in Game One of the National League Wild Card Series at PETCO Park on September 30, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Yadier Molina #4 congratulates Alex Reyes #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals after defeating the San Diego Padres 7-4 in Game One of the National League Wild Card Series at PETCO Park on September 30, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Alex Reyes and the St. Louis Cardinals reached a deal on a one-year contract valued at $900,000. According to MLB.com, the Cardinals and Reyes reached the deal Friday to avoid arbitration. Now it’s time for the pitcher to show the team he’s ready to stick around.

While Cardinals fans were on the edge of their seats when the mention of Reyes was uttered, the struggling right-hander built up his resume as a fairly reliable option out of the bullpen. According to FanGraphs, in 15 games in 2020, he was 2-1 with one save and a 3.20 ERA. He also started one game in the unusual 2020 campaign. In 19.2 innings pitched, he had a career-best strikeout percentage of 31.4% and a 67.7% left of base percentage. He did give up 14 hits and seven earned runs.

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The 2020 season was a good reset for the once-promising young pitcher. After seasons of struggle, he finally seemed to regain the confidence fans hoped to see when he would take the mound.

While ZiPS predictions foresee much of the same for Alex in 2021, Reyes, who turns 27 this season, will probably continue as a long reliever and a spot starter when the starting rotation has a hiccup. It would be amazing to see him regain the form we hoped from him – a top-tier spot in the starting rotation. Unless pitching coach Mike Maddux has his heart set on Reyes as a reliever, it would be nice to see him as another option to stretch out as a starter.

As we have seen in recent years, pitching options are a good thing to have. Good pitching options are even better! And hopefully, Reyes remains one of those good options.

After 2021, Reyes will be arbitration-eligible again in 2022. He will become a free agent in 2024. It would appear this season will be crucial in determining how much longer we will see Reyes in a Cardinals uniform.

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It’s time for Reyes to step up and show us what all he has in 2021 and beyond.