The top 5 remaining available relievers for the Cardinals to acquire

The Cardinals are searching for high-leverage relievers and have plenty of players to choose from. The market is beginning to heat up and they must act quickly.
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We are now entering the 2023-2024 MLB offseason. Shohei Ohtani has finally signed his highly anticipated contract which was stalling the market up until now. We are now seeing lots of buzz in regards to the remaining free agents finding suitors or potential trades lining up. The St. Louis Cardinals are on record to be looking for high-leverage relievers but are open to trades if they find the right deals. With the market begging to heat up, it is time to act and beat other teams to the best available players. With the dire need for a high-leverage reliever, here are the top 5 available relievers for the Cardinals to pursue.

Emmanuel Clase

With the news of the Cleveland Guardians posting Emmanuel Clase to the trading block, this provides not only the best reliever on the open market, but it provides arguably the best reliever in the game to any interested team. Clase's four-year average in his young career looks like this so far: 238.1 IP, 210 ERA+, 0.965 WHIP, 2.44 FIP, 8.9 SO/9, 2.0 BB/9, and 0.4 HR/9 totaling 111 saves. He is still very young at age 25 and is locked into a 5-year contract worth $20 million, that has $10 million in club options for the 2027-2028 seasons. For an all-star closer making only $2.5 million going into 2024, this will be much more affordable than signing someone from the free-agent pool. It will still cost quite a bit to get him though in a trade. But the Cardinals are not in a spot to have cold feet. They need to stay aggressive and pursue Clase…and possibly Shane Bieber.

Josh Hader

Josh Hader has dominated for years in the NL Central and it was a blessing when the Brewers traded him unexpectedly. Hader has now reached free agency and he will be receiving a record-breaking contract for relievers. The Cardinals are adamant about locking in relief pitchers and focusing on back-end support to help the workloads on Gallegos and Helsley.

The team relied on Andre Pallante to face left-handed batters in a reverse split strategy that ended up backfiring on them. The bullpen is in need of a left-handed arm that is reliable when called upon. Will they pursue a more affordable option in hoping they obtain elite-level production? Or should they get the best available reliever in the free-agent market and never have to face him again? The second option sounds better. 

David Robertson

To follow the trend of veteran pitchers who are reliable and will not cost a fortune due to their age, Roberston fits the current mold of the Cardinals front office. They are banking on rebuilding the minor league depth to provide the next wave of cost-controlled pitchers. Until development catches up with the depth chart needs for the MLB level, the Cardinals have to find short-term fixes.

Their strategy appears to be long-time proven players who know what to expect in a clubhouse. Robertson has been around for a long time and still is an elite back-end reliever. If you have doubts about his age and remaining effective, his Baseball Savant page will tell you otherwise.