6 relievers the Cardinals need to target on the trade market

The Cardinals will likely buy at this year's deadline, but don't expect a major splash. One of these right-handed relievers would certaintly help their bullpen.
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Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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Chris Martin, Red Sox

Coming off an excellent season in 2023, Boston Red Sox reliever Chris Martin has not had the same success on the surface in 2024 but has a lot of encouraging signs that point to being a high-leverage bullpen arm for a contender down the stretch.

Last year, Martin posted a 1.05 ERA in 51.1 innings pitched for the Red Sox, so regression was expected for Martin to some extent this year. In his 21.1 innings thus far, Martin has a 4.22 ERA, but he's actually improved both his strikeout rate and walk rate this year. The big issue for Martin has been a massive spike in his home run to fly ball rate, which that jump has happened in his career before when his ground ball rate drops like it has this year.

Like Brebbia, Martin has one of the best chase rates in baseball, ranking in the 97th percentile, and he has a really solid whiff rate as well. Martin mostly relies on his cutter and four-seam fastball while mixing in his splitter as a put-away pitch. He has used his sinker far less this year than he did in years past, so maybe getting a feel for that pitch again can help him induce more ground balls and see his numbers stabilize.

Another interesting wrinkle for why Martin could be a target for St. Louis is the recent history connecting the two organizations. The Cardinals acquired reliever Nick Robertson from the Red Sox this past offseason in the Tyler O'Neill trade, and they also selected Ryan Fernandez from Boston in the Rule 5 draft. Chaim Bloom, who was brought in as a Special Advisor to President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak this offseason, was in charge of baseball operations for Boston until the end of the 2023 season, so there is a lot of familiarity here.

Martin has been seen as a trade candidate around the industry if the Red Sox do decide to sell, but I'm sure a number of contenders would be interested in bringing in Martin as well. He is another name I would keep a close eye on as Cardinals fans.