Cardinals: What is with St. Louis' willingness to trade Ryan Helsley?

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals - Game One
Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals - Game One / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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The volatility of relievers and Helsley's lack of a track record lessens his value

We can all agree that having a reliever as dominate as Helsley was in 2022 is an important ingredient to winning in today's game. Each and every postseason, the team's that go the furthest tend to have the more dominate bullpens, as they shorten games and lock down opposing offenses. So why would the Cardinals want to trade him for a catcher like Jansen, and why would the Blue Jays say no to that deal?

First, there is just so much volatility among relievers in baseball, which makes it difficult to bank on them from year to year. One year, a reliever can be one of the most dominate in baseball, and the next they can blow up and be unplayable. No one has really figured out why this is the case, which makes acquiring and maintaing an elite bullpen one of the most difficult things in today's game.

Second, the relievers that do tend to carry high value in the league are ones who have shown the ability to be dominate for multiple seasons. Though there is still risk involved with those relievers, they have at least proven they are not a "flash in the pan". But even with those guys, they can just as easily implode like relievers without a track record (see Josh Hader in the middle of the 2022 season).

The third reason relievers are not as highly valued as other positions is just how "little" they play. Even the best relievers are usually only appearing in 50-60 games a year, throwing about 60 innings or so. Starting pitchers, when healthy, give you at least 150 innings a year, catchers can play between 90-110 games a year, and other position players give you 130-150 games. Giving up a really good catcher takes away many innings and games of production for a player who will at best be dominate in a select amount of games.

Now, I am not saying I agree or disagree with this way of thinking, but it seems that a combination of these reasons is why a guy like Helsley would not carry as much value as you or I would normally think. So should fans be worried about Helsley in 2023? Here is why he should be primed for another great season in 2023.

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