Cardinals fill out their bullpen with one more elite strikeout artist

The Cardinals add Keynan Middleton from the Yankees to complete the bullpen for 2024
New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox
New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Aside from acquiring Gray, Lynn, and Gibson early on on in the offseason St. Louis Cardinals have been relatively quiet. After acquiring Andrew Kittredge in a trade with the Rays, the Cardinals front office promised the addition of one more veteran reliever. And tonight, the Cardinals have signed former Yankee reliever Keynan Middleton pending physical. Details on the contract are not yet available but will be added as soon as they are known.

At age 30, Middleton put up a solid season between the White Sox and Yankees in 2023, with a 3.38 ERA and a 4.20 FIP across 50.2 innings pitched. He certainly won't be closing many games for the Cardinals in 2024, barring a series of terrible injuries, but he'll be a great depth option out of the bullpen for high leverage as needed. In 2023, Middleton greatly improved his strikeout numbers from an 8.5 K/9 rate throughout his career to 11.4 K/9 last year.

The Middleton acquisition is in line with the Cardinals' focus on adding more swing-and-miss over the initial weak-contact-oriented pitching philosophy. With Helsley, Romero, Gallegos, and Kittredge, the Cardinals bullpen is now full of young and veteran options alike who can fill late innings, something they did not have last season.

It looks like the Cardinals have made their last major move this offseason. Barring an unlikely trade for a Dylan Cease-type arm (which might now be more likely after Corbin Burnes was shipped to Baltimore), the front office has made it largely clear that the roster is set for next season. The final need for this roster has been filled, so it's time to get ready for Spring Training.