Cardinals: Ranking the rumored extension candidates for St. Louis

May 7, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) is
May 7, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty (22) is / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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#4 - Ryan Helsley

The tough part about this list is that all four guys would be great extension candidates. But if I had to put them in order, Ryan Helsley would be the least pressing of the candidates.

For starters, Helsley has multiple years of club control remaining, so there is no rush to get an extension done with the flamethrower. Yes, his extension number will rise significantly if he repeats his 2022 performance or even comes close to it, but that is a risk that is probably worth taking for the Cardinals. Unless Helsley is looking for a very team-friendly deal this off-season, it could be risky extending him.

Helsley had a career year in his age-27 season, posting a 1.25 ERA with a 13.08 K/9 in 64.2 innings of work. He was dazzling fans and experts alike with his fastball velocity and ability to throw hitters off with great off-speed options. While his stuff should continue to play, relievers are notorious for falling off at any moment. Without much of a track record outside of last season,

That is taking nothing away from the player Helsley has become. This has more to do with risk versus reward. St. Louis appeared to be open to dealing Helsley this off-season for a new catcher, and that likely had more to do with how the game values relievers rather than his ability. If the Cardinals do extend him, I don't think any of us would mind that at all.

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