The Cardinals have made one relatively minor move since the lockout was lifted, signing reliever Drew VerHagen to a two-year deal. He steps into a bullpen that also features Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley and T.J. McFarland and seems as if it’ll include flamethrowing righties Alex Reyes and Jordan Hicks.
St. Louis brass has floated the idea of each of Reyes and Hicks lengthening out into rotation roles over the offseason. Yet president of baseball operations John Mozeliak cast some doubt on that possibility when speaking with reporters (including Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat) yesterday.
“I do think getting Alex and Jordan stretched is going to be much more challenging than in a normal time,” Mozeliak said in reference to the ban on staff members from communicating with players on their 40-man rosters between December 2 and March 10. While he didn’t specifically rule a rotation conversion out, that prospect always seemed a bit of a reach — particularly with regards to Hicks. Hicks pitched only ten innings in 2021, as he went on the injured list in early May with elbow inflammation that proved season-ending. That came on the heels of a June 2019 Tommy John surgery that had wiped out his prior season and a half, so building him towards a starter’s workload would’ve been a challenge even had there not been a work stoppage.
Reyes logged a full season in 2021, tossing 72 1/3 frames over 69 appearances. That marks almost exactly the same amount of work Reyes took on at the major league level from 2016-20 combined, as he also required a Tommy John procedure (in February 2017, in his case). He struggled quite a bit in the second half, and his 16.4% walk rate was higher than that of any starting pitcher last year. Between those innings and strike-throwing concerns, Reyes might also have had trouble cracking a starting rotation that currently projects to include Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas.
Mozeliak also addressed the position player mix, suggesting the club might look externally for help in handling the designated hitter spot now available for National League teams (Jones link). He suggested that internal options like Lars Nootbaar or Juan Yepez could be considered for that role but noted there may be “short term solutions” available on the market. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported during the lockout that former Pirates infielder Colin Moran was of interest to the Cards, presumably as an option for such a role.
One position at which it doesn’t seem the Cardinals will consider outside help is shortstop. Speaking with Dani Wexelman of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM this afternoon (Twitter link), Mozeliak downplayed the possibility of upgrading there. “I don’t think so,” he replied when asked if they’d acquire another shortstop. “We met with Paul (DeJong) prior to the lockout. We told him we thought he could be our shortstop. … Obviously, there’s going to be some competition in this camp with somebody like Edmundo Sosa, but in terms of going outside of that, I don’t think that makes a whole lot of sense for us.”
That’s not a surprise, as reports have increasingly suggested the Cardinals seem confident in DeJong’s ability to bounce back from a second straight down year at the plate. He rates highly in the eyes of public defensive metrics, and last year’s career-best barrel rate suggests he can continue to at least bring some power to the table offensively. St. Louis was mentioned earlier in the offseason as a speculative fit for star free agents like Carlos Correa or Trevor Story, but Mozeliak’s comments seem to close the book on the chances they make a run at either player.
sweet top stories and recent are back.
The media is still looking for a spot for Correa.
Haha! Love how you phrased this Stymee; nicely done, sir!
Queue up Pujols.
The bench was a liability last year. I’d hate to see the Cards waste a spot on pure nostalgia.
I wouldn’t say Pujols is a waste if they sign him. He’s still serviceable against leftys and the clubhouse presence would be invaluable.
He’d be great in clubhouse down the stretch
This is true, but the Cardinals don’t really have a need for a (very) defensively limited right-handed platoon bat, especially when they already have Yepez as Major League ready. They need a lefty bat instead.
That being said, Pujols could still have a role as a pinch-hitter and potential part-time DH, and I’d love to see the Cardinals bring him back.
That depends on the price!! Who knows—-Andre Dawson once gave the Cubs a blank contract. He told the Cubs to fill it out— because he was going to play in Chicago the next season. (Ha!, but it’s true)
Would Pujols do a Hometown deal to play his last season with his 2 retiring friends and finish his career as a Cardinal???
That was in the collusion days. Dallas Green filled in $500,000. Dawson won the MVP.
Hey Cards fans, Cubs and White Sox fan here. What is the outlook for Flaherty? Is he healthy? Did he ever have surgery? No news about anything going on.
Flaherty was injured last year after a great start. He came back right at the end and didn’t look great. No surgery though. Considered ready for a full starter’s load this year.
Pujols and Rosario would be nice and fairly inexpensive…
Pujols is not a nice fit at all. We just got dead weight off the books. Use the DH to rest players. Cards don’t need nostalgia. They need a solid run in October.
Exactly. Yepez is ready. And Gorman too.
Pujols isn’t dead weight if used mostly against lefties, not like Carpenter was last year. The only issue is if the Cardinals have room on the roster for a defensively-limited right-handed platoon bat that can’t be optioned.
I like my Brewers’ starters, but the Cardinals’ starters look like they could compete with any team for best in the league
What about Hudson? Despite his relative lack of K’s, he’s always put up good results and is currently one of the best 5th starters in MLB.
Cards need to add a nice lefty bat
Definitely a part of the calculus as to why they have interest in Moran. Colin isn’t a great bat or a great fielder but he won’t drag the team down on either front. Also makes sense as an option to start at first and let Goldschmidt DH a couple times a week to lessen his load. I think Schwarber would make more sense but Moran is a solid, if unspectacular, plan B.
Ol’ Uncle Charlie
Pujols hit lefties .294 last year with power and can still sub in at 1st when a lefty starts.
This is not just a nostalgia mention. I think he’s a good bench fit for a one year deal at $2.5 million.
His wife thinks your offer is an insult
You mean his ex-wife, that one?
why not get a hitter, instead of a lefty?
Ha! Oh he’ll pimp DeJong because he’s the cvnt that gave him that money.
Are you really saying that any, let alone all, of those guys are better than DeJong? I mean Kozma was a flash in the pan but at least he flashed and at the time I wanted my team to draft Perez but I’d take DeJong over all of those options even if I had to pay DeJong’s salary myself as a dude with 20 grand of debt already hanging over my head in the first place.
619bird (no relation) You are correct. The Cardinals hung on to Carpenter too long during his quick and steady decline, so why not Dejong? Both are also similar in having a long term contract while they were dying at the plate. Mo will keep Dejong because he used to be good and Mo will not move on from that financial commitment, even though he should. Dejong’s occasional home run does not offset a sub .200 average. He is quickly becoming a wasted roster space.
The differences with DeJong are that he’s still only 28 years old, and they have a very solid Plan B with Sosa if DeJong falters again.
Why sell low on DeJong, especially when you have sosa and Edmonds who can step in if it gets bad? And Gorman will be playing 2nd before too long. SS is not at all the Cards priority.
Please say no to Moran. Let Gorman/Donovon/Yepez platoon the DH at bats for the minimum salary. Don’t plug up a spot on 40 man roster for a guy you hope someone beats out. Moran can back up third? He is horrible there. Let Edman or Sosa start if Arenedo needs day off. Take the savings from Moran and spend a little more on a proven reliever. The dutch sounding guy may turn out to be a steal at 2.5-3 mill but I’d have rather they added that to 3-4mill Moran could get and offered it to McHugh or Tepera. Invite Joe Smith to spring training if you want a guy who could put in a good year for dirt cheap. His second half stats were solid.
Agreed. I’m ready to go into the season with the roster as is if need be. We have solid depth. Stay flexible and be ready to make a move if needed.
Not from the left side of the plate, they don’t. The only left-handed bats they currently have who are likely to make the Opening Day roster are two switch-hitters who hit better right-handed (Edman and Carlson), a decent bench player entering his sophomore year (Nootbaar), and a top prospect but one who has yet to play in the Majors (Gorman).
Hi Redbird land! King Albert is a no brainer , they must bring him back! Along with Wainwright and Molina you have a story book ending with three locked in Hall of Famers. Alberts bat against left handers still has some thump . He can play first for Goldie occasionally. , and get a shot to get 700 homers . With the best fans period ! It gives the city of St Louis a story book ending.
Powerboat9-I was not concerned with a storybook ending. I really did not want to see Pujols come back, that is until the NL adopted the DH. Now it looks like he could have a place, at least against lefties. Pujols may be a fit, I’d take that storybook ending after all.
not looking for a “story book” ending. not Cards responsibility to help with 700 homers. we don’t need a right handed bat.
Love to see Edman moved to a utility role and a trade/signing of a second baseman. Edman got overexposed last year. Even if it is someone with a solid lefty bay to platoon with him occasionally like Brad Miller. Trading for McNeil would be even better though.
We have a lefty bat for second base.
Nolan Gorman is his name. You should probably remember it as he will be a starter at second base at some point this year and for years to come.
Man I sure do hope everybody isn’t putting too much pressure on Gorman, way too early for that.
Guess Mozeliak could see if Gorman can stand the pressure of being ——————Stan Musial’s second coming!!!
However—- that’s not even fair to the kid!!!
As a Pirates fan, I fully believe in the power of Cardinals Devil Magic. Which is really just an otherworldly ability to develop talent in their farm system. Every year I expect the Cards to take a step back because of age, farm system rankings, and just normal fluctuations, but they always stay competitive. This year will be no different.
The Cardinals are Satanists, I tell you.
Ol’ Uncle Charlie
The Cards are so stacked…even as is. But if they signed lefty-killing Albert for a year and added another depth bullpen piece, this team could go all the way.
A lot of people are going to be surprised when multiple players, who are already good, take a step forward this year.
It’s gonna be a fun season!
Mo is back at the discount rack in the back of the store. Drew VerHagen? Remember Brett Cecil? Same thing. I hope this guy pans out, but his history says no way!
Mo, the bullpen should be built on quality, not quantity.
Yeah, but it still needs both quality and quantity, and unlike Cecil, VerHagen only signed for a cheap 2-year deal. They also need to sign at least one more good reliever before I’ll feel comfortable with the bullpen.
It is so frustrating knowing the Cardinals are only one to Two impact players from being a contender for a National league Championship.
Mo does this same routine every trading deadline and each off season!!! He won’t stick his neck out on any available impact players when needed. He sure won’t get 2 impact players You can bet on that!!! No impact players!!! Even though big money comes off the books in 2023.
Waisting money on over the hill players.
even with the new cbt, Mo is still pinching pennies, when is Mo gonna go?
I am starting to wonder the same, my friend. So long as the Cardinals operate as they have under Mozeliak, they probably win more than they lose and may or may not make the playoffs. He just doesn’t seem to have the ambition to pursue a World Series championship. He makes the Cardinals nothing more than a better version of the Pirates.
That’s the ownership, not Mo
They should make Reyes the closer
That didn’t work out too well last year. He started out pretty good, but died in the second half, choking his way to the bench. Me, I’d drop him like a hot potato.
Reyes still has decent or better value, but I agree that he walks too many guys to be a quality closer. As of now, Gallegos is first in line as the closer.
Of course let’s keep trotting DeSucks out there and watch him strike out in key situations. Eat a dick Mo.