Cardinals Rumors: St. Louis not expected to pursue more relievers
The St. Louis Cardinals are not expected to pursue more relievers, which is a huge risk that could threaten their season before it starts.
During the lockout, there was significant buzz that the St. Louis Cardinals would pursue relief pitchers such as Joe Kelly, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Brad Boxberger. Once the lockout was lifted, they all signed with different teams, and left many observers scratching their heads as to what the team was up to.
Their biggest addition was Drew VerHagen, followed by Nick Wittgren. Both were signed to major-league contracts, but neither came with the high-leverage experience that the Cardinals were said to be coveting the last few months. If anything, the argument can be made that their need for bullpen help is even stronger than it was before, considering that Alex Reyes is out indefinitely with a labrum injury.
Yet the Cardinals are not going to pursue more relief pitching, as The Athletic reported that they “believe they have the necessary pieces to compete but aren’t sure where each piece fits just yet.”
That’s fair. After all, that’s what spring training is for. But the Cardinals are taking a risk here because there depth has been questioned, both internally and externally, and they are betting on VerHagen and Wittgren being enough to shore up the unit. They have Jordan Hicks and Ryan Helsey, two promising relievers, coming back from injury. They also have Giovanny Gallegos, Genesis Cabrera, T.J. McFarland and others capable of eating innings in the bullpen.
But sheesh, another reliever would go a long way toward helping the Cardinals avoid having a repeat of their 2021 issues that threatened to derail their season. They do not have a dominant arm in the late innings, instead having a lot of good pieces that come with question marks, mainly extensive injury histories or relative inexperience.
If the bullpen falters, it’s going to be their No. 1 priority at the trade deadline. And by the looks of it, they’ll be looking at at least one – maybe two relievers – come July 31 and maybe even another starting pitcher.