Ryan Helsley was drafted by the Cardinals in the 5th round of the 2015 draft. The 29-year-old fireballer has pitched a total of 194 innings in his major league career, and he has earned 33 saves in 5 seasons. His 2.83 ERA, 1.088 WHIP, and 228 strikeouts are all ranked near the top of reliever leaderboards. Helsley has been a dominant reliever for much of his career, and he has settled in very comfortably into the closer role these past two years.
Helsley has two years of free agency remaining after the 2023 season. Relievers are typically signed for shorter durations than starters, so Helsley's contract will look much different than Spencer Strider's contract. Should the Cardinals buy out the remainder of Helsley's contract, it would probably include an additional 2 years post-arbitration. Emmanuel Clase was given an extension that bought out three years of arbitration and 2 years of pre-arbitration. His contract was for 5 years and $20 million.
Helsley will probably see a contract with a similar AAV and duration so that he has two years of free agency bought out. His value would be higher in free agency, so the Cardinals will have to increase the AAV of the contract.
Prediction: 4 years, $18 million