- It’s unclear how many “untouchable” players the Orioles have, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop, outfielder Trey Mancini and reliever Mychal Givens are among them, an executive from outside the organization told Kubatko at the Winter Meetings. The lone player of those three who’s not under control for the long haul is Schoop, who has two arbitration-eligible years remaining. The Orioles will attempt to extend him sometime soon, Kubatko suggests. Mancini is controllable for the next half-decade, including two pre-arb campaigns, while Givens is under wraps for four more seasons (he’ll be eligible for arbitration in a year).
- While talking Manny Machado with the Cardinals, the Orioles showed interest in a trio of right-handers – Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks – as well as catcher Carson Kelly, Kubatko relays. In acquiring Weaver and Flaherty, the Orioles would accomplish their goal of getting two major league-ready starters for their top player. Of course, it’s questionable whether the Cardinals would even part with one (let alone both) for a single year of Machado. Weaver held his own across 60 1/3 innings last season for the Cards, who may not be in position to lose another starter with free agent Lance Lynn likely set to depart, while Flaherty ranks as MLB.com’s 48th-best prospect.
- The Orioles are reportedly trying to acquire Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, but Kubatko throws cold water on the possibility. Baltimore is indeed interested in Duffy, but it’s unlikely a deal with Kansas City will come together, in part because the Royals aren’t “aggressively shopping” the soon-to-be 29-year-old, Kubatko hears.
- Although the Orioles are seeking a left-handed hitter, they don’t seem to have interest in free agent Jon Jay, per Kubatko. That differs from previous offseasons when Jay was on the O’s radar, he notes. Conversely, Baltimore could consider Preston Tucker, whom the Astros designated for assignment Friday.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that they’ve activated right-hander Adam Wainwright from the disabled list. The longtime St. Louis ace has been out since Aug. 17 due to an impingement in his right elbow. Wainwright is reportedly ticketed for a bullpen role upon his return from the disabled list, as the Cards will roll with Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and young starters Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty as their starting five through season’s end. The 36-year-old Wainwright has struggled for a consecutive season, following up last year’s 4.62 ERA with a 5.12 mark in just 121 1/3 innings. He’s signed through next season and will earn $19.5MM next year.
A bit more on the Cards…
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a lengthy look at the Cardinals’ use of cut fastballs over the past several years, dating back to Chris Carpenter’s emergence with an explosive cutter that transformed him into one of baseball’s best pitchers. Goold speaks with Wainwright, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, manager Mike Matheny and others about the organization’s use of the cutter. Notably, Weaver tells Goold that he’s begun to experiment with the pitch and ultimately believes that a cutter will be an important part of his arsenal, but he’s not yet fully comfortable with the pitch. It’s an interesting look not only at the Cardinals’ usage of the pitch but also at the more general strengths and weaknesses of the pitch as well as its its usage rate throughout the years.
- MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tackles several Cardinals-related topics in her latest Inbox column, beginning with the omission of Triple-A slugger Patrick Wisdom from the team’s group of September call-ups. The 52nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, Wisdom showed significant power in Triple-A this year, hitting .243/.310/.507 with 31 homers and 25 doubles in 506 plate appearances. As Langosch points out, Wisdom will be Rule 5 eligible this offseason if the Cardinals don’t add him to the 40-man roster, thus making him available to 29 other clubs. The Cardinals haven’t had a significant need at the infield corners this year, however, limiting chances for Wisdom to get a look in the Majors. The Cardinals could, however, still include Wisdom among their final wave of September promotions now that the minor league season has come to a close.
TODAY: A surgical approach is on the table for Rosenthal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. Rosenthal is set to receive a second opinion on how best to deal with the “stability of his ligament,” per the report.
It certainly sounds as if a Tommy John procedure is at least a possibility. Even if it isn’t ultimately pursued, a rehab course for UCL damage typically involves a fairly lengthy rest and rehab program. Were Rosenthal to require TJ surgery, he’d almost certainly be non-tendered this fall; 2018 is his final season of arbitration eligibility. And avoiding the knife would still seemingly leave it uncertain whether he’ll be able to return this season.
YESTERDAY: The Cardinals have placed reliever Trevor Rosenthal on the 10-day DL with what the team is calling right posterior elbow irritation, per an announcement. Young righty Luke Weaver has been recalled to take his spot on the active roster.
Rosenthal had recently regained the team’s closer role, turning in quality results as the Cards surged in the standings. But the hard-throwing righty left last night’s outing after exhibiting diminished velocity, with indications at the time that he was experiencing tightness in his pitching arm.
The 27-year-old hurler has turned in a bounceback year after a rough 2016 campaign that was marred by arm problems. Through 47 2/3 innings to date, he carries a 3.40 ERA and has racked up 14.3 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9. Rosenthal has not only reversed last year’s walk problems, but has worked at a career-high 98.9 mph and generated a personal-best 15.9% swinging-strike rate.
While any elbow problems are of concern, the outlook on Rosenthal remains unclear at this point. Certainly, the Cardinals will hope that he can recover after a relatively brief DL stint and return to the pen down the stretch.
After all, St. Louis remains in the hunt for the NL Central title and it’s a difficult time to find a quality replacement via trade. The team could return Seung-hwan Oh to closing duties, give lefty Tyler Lyons a shot, or utilize a committee to finish out games. Internal solutions will still leave the club down a late-inning arm, though Weaver certainly represents a quality new addition to the unit.
The Cardinals “float[ed]” a trade proposal for Sonny Gray before the Athletics shipped him to the Yankees, according to MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal. In concept, at least, St. Louis would have considered sending young outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland along with a promising starter (Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty), though it seems talks never got going. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks closer at the Cards’ lack of action on deadline day. Top baseball decisionmaker John Mozeliak acknowledged “a level of frustration” that nothing got done, though he also said the team wasn’t inclined to make deals just for the sake of action. Ultimately, momentum never built toward a deal for Lance Lynn, and the club’s other chatter never materialized into a trade. You’ll want to peruse the lengthy column for all the details.
Here are some more post-deadline links of note:
- The Dodgers’ acquisition of Yu Darvish came together quite late, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports explains in fascinating detail. It became apparent the Dodgers wouldn’t get Zach Britton from the Orioles within a half hour of the deadline, but the team had already “abandoned hope” of landing Darvish. The Rangers, meanwhile, had run through their alternative trade partners for the ace righty and found none availing. The paths of the two organizations converged just twenty minutes before the deadline. You’ll certainly want to give the story a full read; Texas fans will also want to check out this piece from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News on the team’s unannounced but still-evident rebuilding path.
- In the end, there just wasn’t that much demand in the marketplace for Darvish, Rosenthal also notes — so much so that the Dodgers were nearly in position to land both Darvish from the Rangers and lefty Zach Britton from the Orioles. That said, there was “some overlap” between the prospects in both potential deals, and it obviously would’ve required a steep overall price to get both arms. Instead, Los Angeles added two different lefties, Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani.
- As regards Britton, Rosenthal had some stern words for how things played out. The Orioles spurned not only the Dodgers but likely also the Astros. For Baltimore, the deadline approach “was disturbingly short-sighted,” by Rosenthal’s reckoning. And when Houston wasn’t able to find another top-end arm, says Rosenthal, its body of deadline work became a “lost opportunity.” It does seem worth bearing in mind, particularly regarding the Astros, that the August trade period appears to be full of opportunities for making further moves if the need is there.
- Over in Toronto, the Blue Jays ended up holding onto righty Marco Estrada and then watched him turn in a strong outing last night. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes, Jays GM Ross Atkins suggested yesterday that the organization may yet see Estrada as a part of the team’s future — though his contract is up at year’s end and he perhaps remains a plausible August trade piece. With Estrada remaining in Toronto through the deadline, said Atkins, “we’ll start thinking about not only how he impacts us now, but how he can potentially impact us beyond 2017.”
- Be sure also to check out the trade deadline rundown from Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, who assesses some winners and losers from the day’s action. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney also issued deadline grades in an Insider piece.
- With the Braves holding on deadline day, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman takes stock of the months to come. Second baseman Brandon Phillips, reliever Jim Johnson, and starter R.A. Dickey could all be possible August trade chips, he notes, while the inclination of the organization remains to consider deals involving first baseman Matt Adams over the offseason. Meanwhile, Atlanta continues its long-standing pursuit of controllable pitching, though that’ll surely await the end of the current season.
Here are the latest minor moves from around baseball, with the newest transactions at the top of the post…
- The Nationals signed infielder Ryan Jackson to a minor league contract. Jackson appeared in 42 Major League games with the Cardinals and Angels between 2012-15 and has since bounced around with a few different organizations. This is Jackson’s third minors deal of 2017 alone, as he previously inked deals with the Marlins and Mariners (plus a stint with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters). Jackson is a career .269/.344/.354 hitter over 3336 minor league plate appearances, and he’ll provide more minor league infield depth for Washington in the wake of Trea Turner’s injury.
- The Cardinals recalled right-hander Luke Weaver from Triple-A yesterday, and Weaver made his season debut for St. Louis with a scoreless inning in last night’s victory over the Marlins. Weaver, ranked by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in the Cards’ system and as the 50th-best prospect in the game, made his big league debut in 2016, posting a 5.70 ERA over 36 1/3 IP. Weaver owns a 1.93 ERA and sterling peripherals over 56 Triple-A innings this season as a starter, though Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch and other media that Weaver will be used in a variety of bullpen roles with the major league club.
- The Rays outrighted Danny Farquhar to Triple-A, less than a week after designating the right-hander for assignment. Farquhar has a 4.11 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 1.5 K/BB rate over 35 relief innings for Tampa Bay this year, numbers that could’ve made him a candidate to be claimed off waivers during his DFA period, though he’ll remain in the Rays organization.
The Red Sox have placed center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on the 10-day DL, as Ian Browne of MLB.com was among those to report. Bradley was diagnosed with a knee sprain caused by a misstep while running the bases. An MRI did not reveal more significant damage, so the hope is he won’t miss much more than the minimum.
Let’s check in on a few health situations of note from around the game …
- Giants star Buster Posey departed the club’s game today after being struck in the head by an errant pitch, but thankfully indications are he escaped any significant injury. As Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes, Posey passed a concussion test and told teammates he was fine. That’s not conclusive, of course, but for now the team does not plan to make a roster move to fill in for the stellar backstop, as Baggarly further notes on Twitter.
- Mariners shortstop Jean Segura was also pulled today with an injury, though it doesn’t appear to be a major concern. Manager Scott Servais told reporters, including MLB.com’s Greg Johns (Twitter link), that it’s a “very mild” hamstring issue. For now, at least, the key offseason addition won’t be headed for the DL, with Servais calling him day to day.
- The Blue Jays anticipate that closer Roberto Osuna will be able to return to action tomorrow, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. The excellent young reliever opened the year on the 10-day DL owing to a cervical spasm, though that placement was backdated. He made it through a sim game and now seems ready to return to the majors — where he’ll try to pick up where he left off in a strong 2016 season.
- There are several important Rockies players still working back from injury, and Nick Groke of the Denver Post has the latest. Ian Desmond, Tom Murphy, and David Dahl all seem to be progressing, with the trio possibly slated to return by the end of the month. Desmond, who’ll suit up at first base for the first time when he’s ready, seems to have the clearest progression at this point. Per Groke, Desmond will start to throw and field at some point this week.
- Athletics righties Sonny Gray and Chris Bassitt are making strides in their rehabs, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Grey’s lat strain is healing well enough that he was able to work up to 35 pitches from the bullpen today. That could leave him on track to return tot he majors before April is out, per the report. Bassitt, meanwhile, is on the cusp of a rehab stint, though Slusser notes that he’s likely to take a full month in the minors since he’s working back from a year-long layoff owing to Tommy John surgery.
- Though he’s currently stashed at Triple-A, Cardinals righty Luke Weaver is a key piece of the organization’s depth (and future rotation plans). He is headed for a DL stint with lower back stiffness, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports on Twitter. At present, it’s not clear what kind of an absence is anticipated.
Right-hander Luke Weaver entered spring training with a chance to win the last spot in the Cardinals’ rotation, but that bid officially ended when they optioned him to Triple-A on Saturday. Weaver dealt with back spasms earlier this month and performed poorly when on the mound. In five spring innings, the 23-year-old allowed seven earned runs on seven hits and eight walks, and struck out only one hitter. Michael Wacha has fared much better, meanwhile, and taken hold of the No. 5 role as a result, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It seems Trevor Rosenthal will begin the year in the bullpen, then, though the Cards aren’t yet sure how they’ll use him. Both a long relief role and a “hybrid high-leverage job” are on the table for the former closer, per Goold.
More on St. Louis and three other National League clubs:
- After sitting out nearly all of last season and then settling for a minor league contract with the Giants in December, Michael Morse could be hitting his way to a job as a bench player with the team. Regarding Morse, who has slashed .308/.400/.615 in 26 spring at-bats, manager Bruce Bochy said Friday (via Chris Haft of MLB.com), “If the bat plays, you find a place for him.” Morse had only lined up at first base this spring until he manned left field Friday, leading Bochy to note that “he needs more time out there.” It’s possible the right-handed Morse will end up platooning with lefty-swinging left fielder Jarrett Parker, writes Haft. The 34-year-old Morse realizes he’s not exactly an ideal fit for the outfield, though. “It was fun. It was like riding a bike … with two flat tires,” he quipped after playing left Friday (Twitter link via Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area).
- Although the Cardinals’ Matt Adams has only seen action at first base since debuting in 2012, the club will give him some left field work on the back fields of its minor league complex Saturday, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. St. Louis is “curious” to see how Adams will look in the outfield, adds Langosch. With Matt Carpenter taking over at first, Adams doesn’t appear likely to receive much playing time at his typical position this season. The fact that Adams slimmed down over the winter could help make him an outfield candidate, though the Redbirds already have everyday-caliber corner options in Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk.
- There’s “nothing happening” right now between the Braves and free agent outfielder Angel Pagan, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). The Braves have reportedly made “multiple” attempts to sign Pagan, who’s among the best free agents still on the board, though he’s holding out for a higher offer.
- Rockies left fielder David Dahl is making progress in his recovery from a ribcage injury and could “increase activity” soon, manager Bud Black told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Dahl was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his sixth rib 12 days ago, and the Rockies said at the time they’d re-evaluate him in two weeks. The highly promising 22-year-old has only taken four at-bats this spring.
There’s been no shortage of injury news today, with David Price headed for a second opinion following an MRI to examine his left elbow and David Wright being indefinitely shut down from throwing. Those two stars are far from the only ones with injury concerns though; here’s a look at some more injury situations around the game…
- Rangers right-hander Andrew Cashner has been shut down due to biceps tendinitis in his right arm, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. For the time being, the team doesn’t believe that Cashner’s arm troubles will jeopardize his availability for the start of the season, but the offseason signee will be evaluated by team doctor Keith Meister on Friday before further determination is made. Cashner inked a one-year, $10MM deal with the Rangers this offseason in hopes of rebounding and reentering next year’s market with improved earning capacity.
- Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani has been cleared to begin throwing, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. That’s a relief for Cincinnati, as the 26-year-old had previously been shut down from throwing on Monday of this week due to some “tenderness” in his right elbow. DeSclafani tells Sheldon that he was never too concerned that the injury might be serious in nature, and indeed, Reds medical director Timothy Kremchek gave him the green light to begin throwing after examining him this week. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer quotes Kremchek as stating that the hope is for DeSclafani to begin throwing today or tomorrow, with an eye toward throwing off a mound six or seven days from now (Twitter link).
- Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that Blue Jays Rule 5 pick Glenn Sparkman suffered a fractured bone in his right thumb during pitchers’ fielding practice earlier today (Twitter link). There’s no timeline for his recovery just yet. As is the case with many Rule 5 picks, however, the injury could in a strange way prove advantageous for the Jays and for Sparkman. Toronto could potentially stash Sparkman on the disabled list to open the season — he’d otherwise have to break camp on the 25-man roster — and then work through a minor league rehab assignment early in the year before being considered as an option for the big league roster.
- Tigers relievers Francisco Rodriguez and Justin Wilson both missed their scheduled appearances on Wednesday due to hamstring soreness, writes Evan Woodbery of MLive.com. Wilson won’t throw for the next few days as he hopes to mend his injury, while K-Rod is slated to pitch on Saturday. Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus said Rodriguez could “probably” have pitched yesterday, but the team didn’t want to rush him and risk worsening his situation.
- MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch provides several medical updates on the Cardinals. While right-hander Luke Weaver checked out OK after exiting yesterday’s Grapefruit League game due to back spasms, Matt Carpenter was scratched from today’s game due to back issues of his own. Weaver isn’t expected to be sidelined too long, per Langosch, whereas Carpenter will be reevaluated tomorrow (the team isn’t especially concerned, she notes). Carpenter’s back could impact his availability for the World Baseball Classic, however. Langosch also notes that southpaw Tyler Lyons is ahead of schedule in his rehab from knee surgery to the point that he could push for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
The Cardinals announced that right-hander Luke Weaver was removed from today’s Grapefruit League contest due to back spasms (Twitter link). Weaver faced two hitters in the eighth inning of today’s game and retired both before his back acted up. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch writes, manager Mike Matheny said he’s unaware of any previous back problems for Weaver, and the team will re-evaluate the top prospect tomorrow. Weaver is battling fellow righties Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal for the final spot in the St. Louis rotation and is by far the least experienced of the group. So while there’s no indication that the injury is especially serious, any time lost this spring could have an adverse impact on Weaver’s chances of laying claim to that vacant starting job.
A few more notes from around the Senior Circuit as the evening winds down…
- Right-hander Fernando Salas has a visa issue that is preventing him from pitching in spring games for the Mets, reports Newsday’s Marc Carig. Salas has already secured the necessary paperwork to pitch for Team Mexico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, so that tournament could give him some needed in-game reps as he prepares for the season. Carig adds in a followup tweet that the Mets expect Salas’ current documentation issue to be resolved sometime next week, so he should be able to pitch with the team upon completion of the WBC, barring any further paperwork complications. Salas, 33, inked a one-year, $3MM deal to return to the Mets in early February on the heels of an excellent showing with the team following last year’s August trade. The veteran setup man tossed 17 1/3 innings with the Mets, yielding just four runs on 11 hits and no walks with 19 strikeouts.
- The Reds considered Scott Schebler as more of a left fielder than a right fielder when he was acquired in the 2015 trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, but the 26-year-old has spent a great amount of time working to improve his throwing. As such, the team now views Schebler as a viable option in right field, and he’s in line to get a chance to cement himself as the team’s primary option there in 2017. “It’s one of the things I worked on for quite some time, and it’s getting there,” Schebler told Sheldon. “I would never say I have a cannon. I may never have one, but you work toward that and maybe you end up somewhere in the middle.” Manager Bryan Price said the team has emphasized to Schebler that its preference would be less air underneath his throws, even if it means one-hopping the catcher on throws to the plate. Price praised Schebler for improvements to his arm strength and accuracy — both of which he attributes to mechanical alterations.
- Greg Holland won’t make his Cactus League debut for the Rockies until next week, at the earliest, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The 31-year-old threw a 23-pitch simulated game on Tuesday of this week and will throw at least two more sim games before he’s cleared to get into an actual game with his new team, per Saunders. To this point, Holland hasn’t come out and thrown his fastball at 100 percent, though the former Royals closer said he’s building toward that point. Holland is clearly itching to get into a game, calling it “demoralizing” for any competitor to sit out as games are underway. “But you have to understand that there is a right way and there is a science behind this,” Holland told Saunders. “You have to stay patient with it, as hard as it is.” Holland inked a one-year, $7MM deal with the Rox this winter, and his contract also contains a vesting player option that’ll trigger at $15MM if he finishes 30 games or appears in 50 total contests.
The Cardinals took a significant hit this week with the news that Alex Reyes will require Tommy John surgery, but the team doesn’t expect to pursue remaining free-agent arms to replace the touted 22-year-old, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com offers a similar take, noting that the organization will utilize Spring Training to evaluate right-handers Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver and Trevor Rosenthal (formerly the team’s closer, though Seung-hwan Oh now owns that title) as options.
Certainly, the free-agent market still bears a number of alternatives, though the majority of arms that are still available at this juncture of the offseason come with perhaps as many questions as any of St. Louis’ internal candidates. Doug Fister, Colby Lewis, Jake Peavy and Jered Weaver are among the top right-handed names left on the market, while Jorge De La Rosa and Jon Niese are the two available lefties that have most recently enjoyed big league success. None of the names in that group enjoyed a fully productive or healthy 2016 campaign. The trade market, of course, bears a far more appealing name in White Sox lefty Jose Quintana, but the asking price on the excellent southpaw remains extremely high.
Per Langosch, Wacha appears to be the early front-runner to join Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn and Mike Leake in what will be an all-right-handed rotation. Still just 25 years of age, Wacha has been plagued by shoulder injuries in recent seasons and posted a disheartening 5.09 ERA in 138 innings last year. However, his strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates all remained fairly consistent relative to his more successful 2013-15 seasons, and his average fastball (93.2 mph) was the same as it was in a very solid 2014 campaign.
ERA alternatives pegged Wacha for a mark much closer to 4.00 than his 5.09 mark, with FIP leading the charge at a solid 3.91. Wacha did experience a stark increase in BABIP last season, as his average on balls in play rose from .272 in 2015 to .334 last year. Also working against him was a strand rate (64.7 percent) that sat six percent below his career mark. Wacha logged a 3.21 ERA in 353 innings from 2013-15, so it’s certainly plausible that he can return to form if his shoulder holds up.
As for Weaver (Luke, not Jered), the young right-hander was the Cardinals’ first-round pick in 2014 and has received some Top 100 prospect fanfare from pundits around the game. He posted a sensational 1.30 ERA in 83 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season, averaging 10.0 K/9 against 1.3 BB/9 before struggling in his MLB debut. The 23-year-old was charged with 23 earned runs on the strength of 46 hits and a dozen walks in 36 1/3 big league innings, resulting in a dismal 5.70 ERA. Weaver threw just six innings in Triple-A last season — his only experience at that level — so it’d hardly be a surprise if the preference among St. Louis decision-makers was for him to get a bit more minor league seasoning.
Rosenthal was at one point a vaunted starting pitching prospect broke but into the league as a reliever in 2012 and never looked back. He posted a 2.78 ERA with a 25-to-7 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings of relief as a rookie and was entrenched in the ninth inning less than two calendar years later. Rosenthal, though, saw his control dissipate in 2016 (6.5 BB/9) and surrendered considerably more hits (on a rate basis) than he ever has in his career. A .425 average on balls in play against him assuredly didn’t help his cause, but throwing strikes and commanding the ball within the zone were both obvious issues for the former All-Star in 2016. Beyond that, his season was shortened by shoulder inflammation. In his absence, the newly signed Oh (who formerly starred as one of the best closers in KBO and NPB history) seized hold of the Cardinals’ closer role.
Looking past that trio, the Redbirds have options in the form of southpaws Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales as well as right-hander John Gant (who came over to the Cards in the Jaime Garcia trade). While the addition of depth on minor league deals should probably never be ruled out for any club, the Cards do seemingly possess enough depth to weather the loss of Reyes. Should further injuries arise in camp, the team could always look to external options, but significant additions don’t seem likely at this point.