Alex Reyes is officially out of the running for a rotation spot in St. Louis, per MLB.com’s Zachary Silver (via Twitter) and others. Reyes will head to the bullpen. With a healthy year, the Cardinals still hope that Reyes will pitch out of the rotation in 2022. For now, he’ll be limited to 100 innings, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). He’s likely to factor into the end-of-game mix for St. Louis. He made one start versus 14 appearances out of the pen last year, finishing with a 3.20 ERA/3.24 FIP across 19 2/3 innings.
Take Miles Mikolas out of the equation for the opening day rotation as well, adds Goold (via Twitter). Mikolas has been suffering from shoulder soreness and unable to shake it. He was scheduled to pitch tomorrow, but that’s no longer in the cards, meaning Mikolas won’t be able to get enough work in to be ready by the opener. Mikolas missed 2020 with a flexor tendon strain.
Originally signed to a two-year, $15.5MM deal out of Japan prior to the 2018 season. Mikolas made good on that deal, making 32 starts in each of 2018 and 2019 with a 3.46 ERA/3.76 FIP in 384 2/3 innings, 48.4 percent groundball rate, 18.4 percent strikeout rate and 3.9 percent walk rate. Though Mikolas falls on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of missing bats, he can be considered elite in limiting free passes. After a 200-inning effort in 2018, the Cardinals extended Mikolas for four years, $68MM. Last season was the first of those four seasons. The Cardinals owe Mikolas $17MM each year through 2023. He’ll undergo further testing in the hopes of pinpointing the source of his shoulder soreness.
The Cardinals rotation is already without Dakota Hudson, who had Tommy John surgery at the end of September. With Reyes headed for the bullpen and Mikolas joining Hudson on the shelf, there’s an opening at the back of the Cardinals’ rotation. Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright and Kwang Hyun Kim are the only gold-plated locks, with Carlos Martinez likely to join them. The last spot is an open competition between John Gant, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Johan Oviedo, and Jake Woodford.