Cardinals Rumors: St. Louis open to upgrading bullpen
As expected, John Mozeliak says that the St. Louis Cardinals are open to upgrading the bullpen ahead of the trade deadline.
On Sunday, St. Louis Cardinals manager Oli Marmol indicated that he would tweak the bullpen in hopes of getting better results. For now, that will come by reconfiguring their internal options – Drew VerHagen and T.J. McFarland are moving to low-leverage situations – while other pitchers get more prominent roles.
But the Cardinals are open to upgrading their bullpen via trade, as president of baseball operations John Mozeliak tells Katie Woo of The Athletic: “I’m never going to turn down if we think we can upgrade the bullpen. It’s always something that we have to be cognizant about.”
This is every team’s thinking in the weeks/months leading up to the trade deadline. No team will ever turn down upgrading the bullpen, especially the Cardinals, who rank 14th in baseball in bullpen ERA (3.88). And to be clear: This isn’t Mozeliak singling out the bullpen. He is also open to adding to the rotation and other parts of the roster if the right opportunity presents itself.
But his willingness to upgrade the bullpen is noteworthy considering the recent struggles, especially with All-Star reliever Alex Reyes out for the season following a shoulder injury. Jordan Hicks should return soon, too, and figures to have a prominent bullpen role. But the organization wants to make sure they don’t overuse Ryan Helsley or Giovanny Gallegos, preferring to use them in situations when they have the lead or are in a tied game.
It’s drawn the ire of fans, sure, but it’s the smart way of operating the bullpen. Through 68 games, they are tied with the Milwaukee Brewers atop the National League Central, and are firmly in the playoff hunt. They’ll have both Helsley and Gallegos fresh for late in the season and potentially in the postseason, too, just a year after Reyes floundered in the second half after a heavy workload following a dominant first half of the season.
They want to be cognizant of not making the same mistake twice, hence their willingness and openness to upgrading the bullpen. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if they made one, potentially two, bullpen additions before the Aug. 2 deadline.