St. Louis Cardinals sign intriguing veteran relief pitcher

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John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, watches a game against the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium on August 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, watches a game against the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium on August 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals signed a pair of intriguing veterans, most notably reliever Blake Parker on a minor-league contract.

The St. Louis Cardinals are done with their heavy lifting this offseason, with the addition of Steven Matz proving to be the biggest move. They signed Corey Dickerson, Drew VerHagen and Nick Wittgren as veterans to fill out the remainder of their roster.

But president of baseball operations John Mozeliak remains on the search for veteran talent to give the organization more depth. This weekend, the Cardinals signed reliever Blake Parker and infielder/outfielder Corey Spangenberg to minor-league contracts.

Parker, 36, grew up a Cardinals fan in Fayetteville, Ark. He told reporters that he was at Busch Stadium as a fan with his dad for Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run and told his father, Richard, that he was signing with his childhood team as a special moment.

On the field, Parker is an intriguing addition. He has a combined 16 wins and 34 saves in nine seasons in the majors while performing primarily as a setup man. He appeared in 47 games with Cleveland in 2021, posting a 3.09 ERA, with manager Oli Marmol saying: “He adds depth to what we’re doing. He’s been a guy who’s been around the league and we’re going to take a peek at him over the next couple of weeks.”

With those numbers, and the Cardinals’ lack of quality bullpen depth, Parker could find himself on their major-league roster pitching meaningful innings before too long. At this point of his career, though, he doesn’t come with much upside. They know exactly what he is and truthfully, that’s what the Cardinals need in a bullpen that comes with so much uncertainty, whether it’s youth or injury questions.

The Cardinals will likely continue to look for organizational depth for its bullpen. But it’s going to be hard to find quality depth like Parker. Good signing.

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