The Cardinals have discussed closer Alex Colome in trade talks with the Rays, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network (via Twitter). St. Louis has an opening at the back of its bullpen, among other needs, after releasing Trevor Rosenthal following Tommy John surgery.
Colome is one of many names I raised recently as theoretical possibilities in addressing the Cards’ closer opening. He’s only projected to earn $5.5MM and can be retained for two additional seasons through the arbitration process. And there’s no question he can handle the pressures of the ninth inning, having secured 84 saves over the past two seasons.
Of course, as the above link shows, there are quite a few other options as well. And Colome’s record is not spotless. While he led the American League in saves last year, he also failed to match his output from the prior campaign. After carrying a 1.91 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 2016, Colome sported a 3.24 ERA in 2017 with only 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 2017.
It’s also not yet clear just how the Rays will proceed. There have been calls for some kind of rebuild, which the organization is evidently at least willing to consider. Should the team decide it is willing to part with Colome or other veteran assets, though, it seems likely that it’ll demand quality young talent at or near the majors in return.
Generally, the Cardinals have quite a few routes they could still go. The team is looking, especially, to improve the back of the pen and bolster its offense. With numerous controllable position players to dangle in trades, as well as some payroll capacity to work with, the Cards will be looking to craft a path to addressing all of their desires as efficiently as possible.
In seeking a major bat, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the team “has no interest” in pursuing free agent J.D. Martinez. Beyond their well-known interest in some Marlins targets, the Cards are also chatting internally about the possibility of going after free agent Carlos Gonzalez, who will surely be available for less (in terms of contract amount assumed and prospect capital) than would the others.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis organization is considering some tinkering with existing players. President of baseball ops John Mozeliak says he has informed Dexter Fowler that he could be shifted to left field in favor of Tommy Pham. And Matt Carpenter may be asked to move around in a utility role, though the expectation would be that he’d get near-everyday time.
Similarly, the Cardinals are also weighing how best to handle their pitching staff, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Righty Alex Reyes, who will be returning from Tommy John surgery, could be slowed down to open the season and work from the bullpen, Mozeliak suggested. The club might also boost its relief corps by utilizing Sandy Alcantara there, though he’ll likely stretch out in camp. These hurlers will surely factor into the construction of the bullpen, though their presence obviously does not obviate the need for new arms — especially in the ninth inning.