Liam Hendriks is available to the Cardinals in free agency
A reliever with high-leverage stuff to close out games and give the bullpen a gritty edge? Yes, please! The Cardinals should check the availability to sign Liam Hendriks to the team.
After coming back from Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his 2023 came to a halt when he required Tommy John surgery for a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He estimates to be back around the 2024 trade deadline. While that is several months away, having him on the team and working with the bullpen guys could boost morale. If Hendriks is battling, so should they!
It may seem like a risky move, but adding Hendrik for a late-season boost and then for the remainder of his contract could be huge for the Cardinals.
Mark Melancon is available to the Cardinals in free agency
With 13 seasons of experience as a high-leverage reliever, Melancon would be another excellent veteran addition to the bullpen. The veteran has a career record of 37-40 with 262 saves. He's earned an ERA of 2.94 over 732 games and 726.2 innings. He has struck out 643 batters over that time.
Melancon did not play in 2023, as he spent his last season with the Arizona Diamondback rehabbing a subscapularis strain. The rehab process involved taking a platelet-rich plasma injection the previous spring. The D-backs decline their option for 2024, making him a free agent.
The decision allows Melancon to find a new home to ramp up for the 2024 season.
Melancon has always been a pitcher you want going in a high-leverage situation. While he would be a high-risk candidate for that now, it could be a high-risk but ultimately a high-reward scenario if he could become a dependable arm to get through some innings.
Mozeliak should at least consider meeting with Melancon and his representation to see if he could be an option.