Giovanny Gallegos entrenched as St. Louis Cardinals closer in 2022

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Giovanny Gallegos #65 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on September 11, 2021 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
Giovanny Gallegos #65 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on September 11, 2021 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) /
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Despite wanting to add at least two relievers, Giovanny Gallegos is entrenched as the St. Louis Cardinals’ closer in 2022.

With the news that Kenley Jansen was not on the St. Louis Cardinals radar, and that Joe Kelly might even be out of their price range, it should come as no surprise that Giovanny Gallegos is entrenched as their closer in 2022, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis-Post Dispatch reports.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, are still targeting relief pitching and reportedly want at least two relievers. But they will complement Gallegos – not challenge him in the ninth inning – and when asked about the search for bullpen help before the lockout, general manager Michael Girsch told Goold:

“We have a pretty good one,” said Girsch, when talking about Gallegos.

Now, that’s not Girsch saying they won’t bring in a closer if the opportunity presents itself, but every indication is that Gallegos will be the guy. And the Cardinals are clearly comfortable having Gallegos pitch in the ninth inning, despite not allowing him to pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the wild card game, where Alex Reyes allowed the season-ending home run to Chris Taylor.

Gallegos, 30, posted a 3.02 ERA and 95/20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 80.1 innings. After Reyes faltered after a dominant first half of the season, Gallegos stepped in and provided stability in the ninth inning, and held the Cardinals’ bullpen together along with T.J. McFarland and Luis Garcia, among others, while Reyes was demoted and Jordan Hicks was on the Injured List.

What makes Gallegos so appealing, too, is his affordability. He is arbitration eligible in 2022 and becomes a free agent in 2025. There is always the chance that the Cardinals try to extend Gallegos if he has a breakout 2022 season, but his low cost gives the team flexibility in trying to add two relievers to a suddenly depleted bullpen.

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But barring an injury, or a change in plan, Gallegos will be the closer in 2022. That much we know.

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