The St. Louis Cardinals seemingly have their opening-day closer in Gallegos, but can Reyes pitch his way back into closing cotention?
All signs, reports, and projections point to the St. Louis Cardinals keeping Giovanny Gallegos in the closing role that he finished the 2021 season with. While he appears to be locked into the role for the moment, could he be on the hot seat from the get-go? Alex Reyes may like to think so.
The Cardinals have a dilemma that every team envies: two solid options for a closer. With Reyes lurking in the bullpen, Gallegos will have to make the most of his save opportunities whenever the 2022 season commences.
Reyes, who was an All-Star closer last season for the Cardinals, lost his closing role after a string of rocky appearances post-All-Star break. It is not unheard of to have an All-Star caliber player lose their position midway through a season. It is also not unheard of for that same player to earn their former role back in the subsequent season.
For Reyes, that could be the path this season takes. While he will undoubtedly start off in a set-up role, he can easily slide back into the ninth inning gig if a few balls bounce his way.
First, Reyes has to pitch well in whatever role he starts in. If he comes out of the lockout struggling, it will be difficult to snag his former job again. Second, Gallegos will have to blow a few early save chances. It would take a monumental early-season collapse for Gallegos to lose the job he earned towards the end of 2021, but anything can happen in baseball’s 162-game schedule.
When the 2022 season arrives, the Cards’ bullpen decisions will be an interesting story to keep track of. When does Reyes enter in relief? Is he a seventh or an eighth inning type of guy?
These questions and so many more will need to be answered before he can even attempt to win the closing role back. We’ll just have to wait and see how the bullpen shakes out.