RHP Matt Barnes
In 2023, all Cardinals pitchers struggled mostly against left-handed batters, particularly right-handed pitchers facing lefties. Left-handed batters had a slash line of .290/.358/.479 against right-handed pitchers. This matchup was the second most frequent among handedness matchups, and it was the most troublesome for starters and relievers on the team.
Enter Matt Barnes. Barnes will be in his 11th professional season next year, and the 33-year-old righty out of Connecticut has been strong against both lefties and righties for his career. In 654 at-bats, left-handed batters are slashing .225/.335/.692 and have struck out more than twice as often as they have walked against him. Barnes also shows the ability to be a shutdown reliever against right-handed batters, as he has held them to a .243/.317/.382 slash line and has struck out three times as many righties as he has walked them.
In 2023, Barnes didn't play up to his usual standards. He finished the year with a 5.48 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 1.641 WHIP, and he allowed a near-career-high hits/9 rate of 10.5. He also fought injuries, and he was thus limited to only 21.1 innings on the year. Where Barnes shined brightest, however, was against left-handed batters. They hit .258/.324/.290 against him. His ability to limit extra-base hits and home runs against lefties would be beneficial to a Cardinals' relief core. While Barnes didn't get many strikeouts, he was able to limit walks, and he finished the year with a 2.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Matt Barnes was under contract for nearly $10 million last year. Due to his age and his underperformance in 2023, Barnes probably won't sign a contract worth that much. Spotrac has its value at just under $3 million.