In order to bolster their bullpen, the St. Louis Cardinals remain interested in finding high-leverage relievers for 2024. Both Phil Maton and Hector Neris, former relievers for the Houston Astros, are on the Cardinals' radar at the moment. Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch has also discussed the team's interest in both relievers in his chats. With Yuki Matsui off the board, the Cardinals must pivot elsewhere to bulk up the bullpen.
While John Mozeliak spoke bullishly about his relievers with Tom Ackerman of KMOX, the Cardinals' bullpen could use some reinforcements. Ryan Helsley seems primed to return to his role as the team's closer, and Giovanny Gallegos and lefty JoJo Romero also figure to be in the mix for some late-inning work next year. Zack Thompson, John King, Nick Robertson, and Matthew Liberatore could round out the relief corps. Many of those players have a history of performing well, but it is still a shaky collection of players.
Last season, the Cardinals' bullpen ranked 23rd in all of baseball in ERA and WHIP to go along with twenty-eight blown saves (56% save rate) and a staff strikeout rate of just 22.2%. While the trades of Chris Stratton and Jordan Hicks at the Trade Deadline hurt the bullpen for the back half of last year, those numbers are still eye-popping. Strikeouts and high-leverage experience should be qualities that John Mozeliak looks for in his bullpen for 2024.
Either Hector Neris or Phil Maton would be a great final piece to the puzzle that is the St. Louis Cardinals' 2023 bullpen situation. These two relievers are familiar with Major League Baseball, and the fact that the Cardinals didn't sign Yuki Matsui could speak to the team's desire to find players with a track record in MLB.