Two relievers on waivers who could strengthen Cardinals' deep bullpen

These two players were recently designated for assignment. They could bolster an already strong bullpen for the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh Pirates v St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Pirates v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen has been the least of their worries this year. As a unit, they rank 8th in fWAR, 10th in K/9, 10th in saves, and 2nd in BB/9 in all of baseball. They are a top-10 bullpen according to most major metrics.

That doesn't mean the relief corps can't get better. With relievers such as Andrew Kittredge and Matthew Liberatore beginning to show their cracks, some reinforcements could be needed soon. Additionally, Riley O'Brien, someone who figured to pitch in the middle of games and strike batters out, was recently placed on the 60-day Injured List.

Open bullpen spots are typically filled by minor-league starters or relievers who can easily be shuttled to and fro. There is also a surplus of relievers who come on and off waivers on a daily basis. Two players who were recently designated for assignment could fill vital roles for the Cardinals' bullpen. Roansy Contreras and Tyson Miller are two such relievers.

Miller, 28, was designated for assignment after the Seattle Mariners re-activated starter Bryan Woo from the Injured List. Seattle is Miller's 6th team in 9 seasons, and he hasn't logged even 50 innings in the majors yet. In just 11.2 innings this year, Miller has a 3.09 ERA with a 26.7% strikeout rate and 2.2% walk rate. The walk rate is unsustainable, and he's sure to see some regression there. However, Miller's ability to limit hits (.207 BABIP) while striking out a decent amount of hitters would help the Cardinals' bullpen. Tyson Miller's 5.91 career ERA is not as appealing as his ERA this year in limited time.

Roansy Contreras, on the other hand, is a bit younger than Miller. He was designated for assignment to make room for super-prospect Paul Skenes to start in the majors. Contreras, 24, was once a top-100 prospect in the Pirates' system. A former starter, Contreras has floated between the majors and AAA for the last 3 seasons. This year, in 16.1 innings for the Pirates, Roansy has a 4.41 ERA, 21.6% K rate, and a 1.65 WHIP. His walks are a bit high (10.8% walk rate), but he has historically been able to keep that number below 10%. Contreras wouldn't be as surefire of a signing based on this year's performance, but his history as a starting pitcher is a bit interesting. He could work further on his craft in AAA Memphis if the Cardinals were to sign him.

Both of these players will pass through waivers in about a week's time. Before that point, the Cardinals could opt to trade for either. That's unlikely, though, because the team can just wait to sign either reliever as a free agent of sorts. Should either Miller or Contreras be signed by the Cardinals, they can be sent to the minors. In order for that to happen, a corresponding 40-man roster move must be made. INF Alfonso Rivas, RP Kolton Ingram, and RP Chris Roycroft could all be released to make room for either Contreras or Miller.

Either reliever would provide good depth to a bullpen that will need to be called on more down the stretch. Should another reliever go down or underperform, reinforcements will be needed. Roansy Contreras and Tyson Miller would be intriguing depth relievers who could succeed in the majors this year.