Cardinals: Why St. Louis might make John Gant their No. 5 starter
Could John Gant be the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter?
The St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff has been under fire recently. They entered spring training without ideal depth in the rotation and immediately lost Miles Mikolas for an undisclosed amount of time with no clear option to replace him.
Perhaps a solution has finally revealed itself. Right-handed pitcher John Gant is currently lined up to be the team’s fifth starter once the regular season begins, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, who adds that Gant has been pitching on the same days as Opening Day starter Jack Flaherty.
Gant, 28, has pitched primarily out of the bullpen the last two seasons, though he did make 19 starts in 2018 and pitched well. He has pitched better in a relief role and it is possible he experiences some regression moving back to the rotation, at least temporarily, if the Cardinals do not sign a free-agent starting pitcher such as Rick Porcello or Homer Bailey.
But moving Gant to the rotation to replace Mikolas has always made sense for the Cardinals. Besides Carlos Martinez, who figures to win the No. 4 spot in the rotation, there are no other options that fit the rotation better than Gant. Alex Reyes is destined for a multi-inning relief role in the bullpen. Daniel Ponce de Leon made some sense, with other options including Johan Oviedo, Genesis Cabrera and Jake Woodford.
The Cardinals cannot afford another injury to the rotation. Otherwise, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak will almost be forced to bring in an arm from outside the organization. They should be well set up with their top three arms, but the uncertainty of the final two pitchers could put early pressure on the bullpen to eat more innings than the front office and coaching staff would ideally prefer.