With the Cardinals needing power arms in their bullpen, they need to claim Nick Anderson off of waivers.
The St. Louis Cardinals just made their first trade of the offseason on Wednesday, and another name just hit waivers that would be a perfect fit for their bullpen in 2023, right-handed pitcher Nick Anderson.
Anderson was surprisingly dropped from the Rays 40-man roster on Wednesday after missing all of the 2022 season and has dealt with a multitude of injuries since the 2021 season. Since debuting in 2019, the 32-year old has been one of the games elite bullpen arms, with an ERA of 2.89 and striking out 14.1 batters per nine innings. Anderson has the kind of swing and miss stuff that the Cardinals lack in their bullpen, outside of closer Ryan Helsley.
Usually a reliever like this would cost quite a bit for a club to acquire, whether through trade or free agent signing. But Anderson is available for waiver claims right now, and since he is only entering his first year of arbitration, he is only projected to make $845K next season and will have two more years of team control. Not only could this be an extreme bargain for the Cardinals, but the move comes with almost zero risk.
Should Anderson continue to deal with injuries or not return to form, St. Louis would be paying the reliever barely above league minimum. But if Anderson is able to be an elite reliever once again, the club saves $10 million or more in annual salary or valuable prospects while making a major upgrade to their bullpen.
Honestly, I’d be shocked if the Cardinals did not submit a claim, but I’d even be a bit more shocked if teams in front of them on the waiver wire don’t either. The Cardinals have plenty of players they can non-tender or trade to make roster space, and already plan on adding a reliever or two anyways, so this move seems like it was gift-wrapped from the baseball gods.