6 sneaky signings the St. Louis Cardinals should consider

The Cardinals should consider adding these six free agents to their squad ahead of the 2024 season.
Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals / Jeff Curry/GettyImages
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6) Shintaro Fujinami

Shintaro Fujinami was signed by the Oakland Athletics ahead of the 2023 season. It's safe to say call that signing disastrous at this point. Fujinami was not capable of starting at the big league level. Then, Oakland began to use him in a relief role. At the trade deadline, Fujinami was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles, who continued to give him opportunities out of the bullpen. At the time, I suggested that the Cardinals had missed an opportunity to fortify their own bullpen.

The results may seem disappointing at first glance. Even after the trade, Fujinami posted a 4.85 ERA. However, we mustn't be so easily fooled. Fujinami actually posted a FIP of 4.13. What's more? In his time as a reliever in Oakland, Fujinami was extremely effective. He made four starts in April. Those four starts inflated his ERA for the rest of the season. It helps that Fujinami can do this.

Fujinami is probably going to come cheap. Most teams will be wary of him considering the ghastly ERAs. If the Cardinals do acquire Fujinami, they won't need him to close games. Instead, he'd probably function in a set-up role. The Cardinals (or whoever signs Fujinami) certainly won't consider giving him an opportunity to start.

But, it's clear that he has the potential to be a shutdown reliever. While the floor is low, the ceiling is very high. If the deal doesn't work out, it shouldn't cause any major issues for the Cardinals. This is a low-risk high-reward play, and the organization should give Fujinami a long look.