There will be many options available for the St. Louis Cardinals and teams looking for relief pitchers once the lockout ends.
Getting a top-tier relief pitcher appears to be the number one item on the wish list for the St. Louis Cardinals once the lockout ends. Luckily, the market is still full of options.
After the 2021 season, it’s easy to see why. The Cardinals struggled with their entire pitching staff through disappointment and injury. While they have great options on paper, human things happen.
Currently, the 2022 relief staff is projected by ZiPS via Fangraphs to include Giovanny Gallegos, Alex Reyes, Genesis Cabrera, Ryan Helsley, Jordan Hicks, T.J. McFarland, Kodi Whitley and Junior Fernadez. Gallegos, Cabrera and McFarland are the only three fairly solid options with the rest having injuries and concerns you can only hope completely resolve by spring training.
While there will certainly be an improvement from these players, the 2021 season taught the team they must be prepared for whatever may happen to their team in a long season. It’s not rational to keep doing the same thing, hoping it gets better. Not after 2021. Not after the season ended with former manager Mike Shildt putting Alex Reyes in a high leverage situation he’d been removed from weeks earlier due to a propensity to give up game-changing home runs. Seeing Reyes give up a walk-off homer to end the 2021 season was a real gut punch.
John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, knows this and must make moves to reflect that knowledge.
While the Cardinals have been connected to names including Ryan Tepera, Joe Kelly, and others, it will be interesting to see what Mozeliak does to bolster this team seeking a huge 2022 season.
Let’s take a look at some other options available to the Cardinals.