Free agency is only hours old, and reports are emerging that the St. Louis Cardinals are already targeting free-agent relievers.
Free agency has been open for a mere couple hours and the rumors are already beginning to roll in. And to no surprise, the St. Louis Cardinals are being connected to free-agent relievers.
Among the names linked to the Cardinals early on include Joe Kelly, Ryan Tepera and Robert Gsellman, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Cardinals had spoken to Kelly before the lockout on a deal that would bring the right-hander back to St. Louis, but there has been rampant speculation that he could be too pricey. If that is indeed the case, Tepera would emerge as the Cardinals’ most likely big-name option. He should be affordable – say, on a two-year, $12-14 million deal – and leave enough room for another veteran option.
Most assumed that reliever would be along the lines of Brad Boxberger, though Gsellman is a new name. He was non-tendered by the New York Mets and while he appeared in only 17 games last season, he posted a 3.77 ERA and 17/7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17.2 innings. He possesses many of the traits the Cardinals like, however, including a high groundball rate and a sinker that he throws more than 60 percent of the time.
It fits the profile that the Cardinals are looking for, making him an ideal candidate to pitch in front of their elite infield defense that includes three Gold Glovers (Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Tommy Edman). He should be cheap, and leave the Cardinals with room to add in other parts of the roster.
Stay tuned. Once the deals start happening, there should be a frenzy of moves following it. The Cardinals may not be first, of course, but they are going to make moves, primarily in the bullpen but also in the rotation and infield depth.
Kelly, Tepera and Gsellman are the names to watch.