The St. Louis Cardinals have signed a left-handed pitcher away from a division rival, and he fits exactly what they are looking for.
This winter, the St. Louis Cardinals seek upgrades both in the lineup and rotation. But they will also seek depth throughout the roster, hence why I made the argument they should claim Clint Frazier.
On Friday, the Cardinals announced they have signed left-handed reliever Kyle Ryan to a minor-league deal that includes a non-roster invitation to spring training.
Ryan, 30, is someone the Cardinals have seen plenty of, considering that he spent seven seasons with the Chicago Cubs. He has posted a 5.90 ERA in 29 games since 2020, which is why he had to settle for a minor-league deal, but he has talent and a track record that is appealing. In 2019, he posted a 3.54 ERA and 3.85 FIP in 61 innings pitched, including a 22.3 strikeout percentage and 58.2 ground ball percentage.
A common theme to the Cardinals’ offseason will be adding pitchers with high ground ball rates. It plays into their greatest strength – infield defense, where they have three Gold Glove winners – and what contributed to strong performances last season with Jon Lester, J.A. Happ, TJ McFarland and other pitchers on the roster.
Perhaps they have the same luck this season with Ryan and if that is indeed the case, adding him on a minor-league deal could prove to be a steal. For now, however, it adds to their left-handed depth out of the bullpen, with Genesis Cabrera, McFarland, Brandon Waddell and now Ryan being options.
Expect the Cardinals to continue to address this area of the roster, but the Ryan addition is the type of low risk move that could pay dividends in the future. It also continues a trend of adding ground ball pitchers that is surely going to continue throughout the offseason.