As the St. Louis Cardinals search for bullpen help, there is more buzz connecting them to free-agent reliever Archie Bradley.
As the St. Louis Cardinals search for bullpen help, it’s become increasingly clear that they will not pay what it takes to sign Kenley Jansen or even Joe Kelly. Ryan Tepera remains an option, however, but president of baseball operations John Mozeliak will need to get creative to address the late innings.
There has been buzz connecting Archie Bradley to the Cardinals. But there is more, with Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat saying that the right-hander is “one pitcher to keep in mind.”
Granted, Jones said this before the lockout, and we missed it. But hearing both Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Jones mention similar things about Bradley is interesting. He fits what the Cardinals are looking for – an established reliever with extensive late innings experience, including in the ninth inning – and will come at a price point (a cheap one-year deal) that the organization will be comfortable with.
There are drawbacks with Bradley, with his strikeout rate dipping to 17.9 percent with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2021. But his groundball rate soared to a career-high 55.7 percent and with the Cardinals boasting arguably the best infield defense (three Gold Glovers) in baseball, that surely will appeal to the franchise.
Besides, they have a leg-up on most teams when it comes to Bradley, considering that his agent is the brother of Cardinals special assistant Ryan Franklin. Does that mean that the Cardinals are going to sign him? No. But there is clearly familiarity between both sides and having the familial connection will help them have a deep understanding of his market.
If the Cardinals sign Bradley, they will surely add another reliever, and it could be one of Tepera or Andrew Chafin. But Bradley appears to be the name to keep an eye on once the lockout is over, whenever that may be.