What the St. Louis Cardinals should do with Alex Reyes
The St. Louis Cardinals need to be patient with Alex Reyes and keep him in the bullpen.
For as great as Alex Reyes was in the first half of the regular season, he was just as bad, if not worse, in the second half for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Reyes, 27, appeared on the verge of stardom. He was arguably the best closer in the National League, making the All-Star team for the first time in his career, posting a 1.52 ERA in 41.1 innings. In the second half, he posted a 5.52 ERA in 31 innings, getting removed from the closer role in favor of Giovanny Gallegos.
Reyes’ issues revealed themselves once again in the NL wild card game, allowing the game-losing two-run homer to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor. Now, the Cardinals must decide what to do with Reyes going forward — and while the decision right now may seem difficult, it should be obvious for manager Mike Shildt.
Keep Reyes in the bullpen. He was historically good in the first half. You don’t lose that talent overnight. He was likely feeling the effects of throwing 72.1 innings this season, throwing a combined 72.2 innings in the first four years of his career. A workload like that, with his injury history, would tire any pitcher. Keeping him in the bullpen and allowing him to grow into this role in the second year would be beneficial for both Reyes and the Cardinals.
Any talk of moving Reyes to the rotation, however, should be stopped for the reasons listed above. Same with his lack of control, allowing 52 walks in those 72.1 innings. That’s not a sustainable pace for any pitcher, let alone a pitcher with starter aspirations, and it needs to get fixed before he can even think about moving to the rotation.
The heartbreak from Wednesday night will surely sting awhile. For the Cardinals, they can’t let it distract them from where Reyes belongs — and that’s in the bullpen, not the rotation.