Merry Christmas Cardinals nation! Hopefully, everybody is enjoying the holiday season with their families for the season of giving. Christmas and New Year's are typically a period of quiet in the free agent and trade market, so we aren't likely to see many moves happen until after the holidays are over. Afterward, however, the Cardinals must make more moves to improve before the 2024 season. Here are four things I want Santa Mozeliak to leave for Cardinals fans under the tree this Christmas:
4 - I want the Cardinals to add two relievers
The Cardinals had a huge starting pitching issue in 2023. Despite claiming to have six starting pitchers, John Mozeliak did not build a starting staff for the regular season. However, the bullpen was often an overlooked problem. Before the Trade Deadline, the Cardinals were on pace to break the single-season blown saves record before selling off many key components. After the Deadline, the blown saves slowed not because the bullpen improved, but because the team got worse and had fewer leads to relinquish.
Sure, the current bullpen would perform fine when healthy with Helsley, Romero, and Gallegos used in high leverage, but the Cardinals would benefit by having more certainty and adding two mid or high-leverage relievers. They missed on one of their primary targets, Yuki Matsui, who signed with the San Diego Padres for 4 years, $21 million, but there are still plenty of other backend options they can target.
It was falsely rumored that the Cardinals were nearing a deal with former Astros reliever Phil Maton, but the fit for Maton in St. Louis makes a lot of sense. Assuming health, the Cardinals have the 9th inning covered, so they don't need to spend too big on the bullpen. Despite being linked to top arms such as Josh Hader, it's extremely unlikely the Cardinals will pay that much for relievers. Ryan Helsley is also a perfectly capable All-Star caliber closer that the Cardinals don't need to replace. The relievers that I want for Christmas are on the cheaper end, like Phil Maton, Jordan Hicks, Woo-Suk Go, and Hector Neris.