St. Louis Cardinals: Who should be the lefty out of the bullpen in 2023?
3. JoJo Romero.
Romero was acquired last year from the Phillies for Edmundo Sosa, and he was impressive in his first few appearances with the Cardinals. He struggled with walks but missed a lot of bats and at the end of the year had way better numbers than he did in Philly. His overall track record in the MLB isn't that good, despite this, it's possible he's found something with the Cardinals, and he could contribute in 2023.
4. Packy Naughton.
Over the past couple of seasons, the Cardinals' front office has been hesitant to get somebody that could fill a void immediately and contribute for years to come, they've instead tried to put a cheap flier on roster depth players that may or may not perform for the team, Packy Naughton was one of those guys. After putting up very bad numbers with the Angels in his first MLB season in 2021, the Cardinals picked him up off waivers, and by May he was with the big club in short spurts. He was up and down in 26 appearances last season, his most notable game was in St. Louis against the Dodgers when he inherited a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation and got out of it without giving up a run, one of the best highlights of last season. Overall his end-of-season stats we're about average, but he got a reputation as a strike thrower, which of course is always acceptable for a reliever, he could have an impact this season whether it's in middle relief or spot starting.
There are other long-shot options that could pitch for the Cardinals in 2023 at some point. One is Anthony Misiewicz who has a few years of major league experience with Seattle and Kansas City. He has middle-of-the-road numbers across the board but he could be a solid bullpen piece down the road. Another hail mary choice is Andrew Suarez, a non-roster invitee who has spent the last 2 seasons pitching in Korea and Japan. The Cardinals have had recent success with signing guys who are playing overseas, the most notable among them is Miles Mikolas, the St. Louis front office likes low-risk, high reward players who have resurrected their careers in another country, Suarez could become of those guys this year. He's pitched three seasons in the MLB with the Giants just before going to Korea in 2021, more power to him and to the Cardinals if he can produce with the big club this season.
Having a lefty to rely on late in games is crucial for any team to win, just looking back at the last two World Series-winning Cardinal teams, the Cardinals had shut down lefties Randy Flores and Tyler Johnson in the bullpen in 2006, then in 2011, they acquired Marc Rzepczynski and Arthur Rhodes at the trade deadline and they both got big outs in the World Series against the Rangers. All four of those lefties were big important factors to those world champion teams.