This highly-touted reliever reportedly met with the Cardinals

One of the premier Japanese pitchers is a potential fit for the Cardinals bullpen going into 2024.
Japan v MLB All Stars  - Game 5
Japan v MLB All Stars - Game 5 / Kiyoshi Ota/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals have fixed their immediate need for starting pitching and are satisfied with the potential innings that will be provided from it. Now the organization will turn its focus to revamping the bullpen which was ranked 23rd in all of MLB in ERA in 2023. Several relievers have been mentioned of interest throughout the off-season and one player has traction towards a potential deal.

Per insider Mark Feinsand of, Five-time NPB All-Star Yuki Matsui visited with the Cardinals in St. Louis on Thursday. This is not surprising given the Cardinals have had interest in Matsui for months now. It is rare this kind of news gets leaked in regards to the Cardinals with player negotiations. The organization deals in privacy and not much information is known until an announcement is made with a signing.

Yuki Matsui has been one of the best relievers in the NPB since his debut in 2014. He holds a 2.43 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 12.0 SO/9 and has recorded 236 saves for his career so far. He is only 28 years old which is appealing for a multi-year contract. The Cardinals lack reliable left-handed relievers in their bullpen so this is a great fit in regards to bullpen construction. He also has a long history of closing out games which is what the Cardinals are trying to add to supplement the workloads of Giovanni Gallegos and Ryan Helsley.

The Japanese market is taking a huge step forward in MLB this offseason. We have seen the earth-shattering deal from Shohei Ohtani with the Dodgers, Yoshinobu Yamamoto has arguably been the hottest commodity so far this offseason given his deadline to get a deal in place. Jung-Hoo-Lee signed with the San Francisco Giants which finally gave them a potential star to build around.

The biggest news of them all might be Roki Sasaki making an attempt to be posted for MLB Free Agency. MLB Teams are finally recognizing talent across the globe thanks to the World Baseball Classic. Japan is a powerhouse and offers some of the best players in the world. The Cardinals might be the next team to act.