The St. Louis Cardinals brought in two pitchers on Thursday to help with ailing depth at the top levels of the organization.
The St. Louis Cardinals need pitching. A lot of it. Across all levels of the organization. So it was little surprise to see the team sign left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who will provide another lefty arm in the bullpen alongside Andrew Miller, and then sign right-handed pitcher Brandon Dickson to a minor-league deal.
Dickson, 36, will report to Triple-A Memphis. It’s a bit of an old friend alert, as he pitched in eight games with the team in 2011-2012. He was most recently pitching with the Orix Buffaloes, where he spent eight seasons, accumulating a 49-58 record with a 3.32 ERA.
If Dickson makes it to the majors, he feels like a prime candidate to be called up when rosters expand in September. But with the amount of injuries the team has suffered already this season, and with Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas on the injured list long-term, there is an outside chance he gets called up by the Cardinals before then.
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The Dickson and LeBlanc moves are the first of a few the organization will make. They have been in talks with right-hander Shelby Miller and it’s unlikely that these moves impact those negotiations, considering LeBlanc is viewed as a left-handed specialist and Dickson hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since 2012.
But even if the organization signs Miller, there is a consensus that the Cardinals will make a trade for pitching at the deadline. The options are thin, of course, so president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has his work cut out for him. Perhaps Texas Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson, who is signed through 2022, could be their prime target if the Washington Nationals do not make Max Scherzer available.
The Cardinals, though, are getting an early jump on adding depth throughout the organization and added two different styles of pitchers in LeBlanc and Dickson. They aren’t the most attractive options, of course, but both could contribute meaningful innings at some point this season, with LeBlanc appearing in his first game only hours after signing.