Cardinals Looking For ‘High-Leverage’ Bullpen Arms

In a Monday chat with readers, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch addressed the approach of the Cardinals front office to upgrading the team’s bullpen — a known priority for the club. In response to a question regarding potential interest in longtime Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, Goold suggested that, during the free agent bonanza that preceded the lockout, the Cards had looked less for a closer per se than at other ‘high-leverage’ arms — “ones who could be used as a closer, but not only a closer.”

The 2021 Cardinals bullpen finished roughly middle-of-the-pack in most statistical metrics (11th in ERA, 8th in FIP, 24th in xFIP, 11th in fWAR) and could see some significant improvements without making a move. High-octane righty Jordan Hicks, who new manager Oliver Marmol will stretch out for an expected multi-inning role in Spring Training, is reportedly healthy after missing most of 2021 with elbow inflammation; and Ryan Helsley, who was shut down in mid-August with knee and elbow issues, is expected to regain a primary set-up role alongside Genesis Cabrera. Giovanny Gallegos will likely retain the closer role he inherited from 2021 All-Star Alex Reyes following Reyes’ substantial second-half struggles.

Author: Lucy Green