With the postseason still in sight, is it too late to upgrade the bullpen?
Though the trade deadline has passed, the weird rules of baseball transactions means the Cardinals can still add to their roster.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 10, 2017
The Cardinals interest in a reliever shouldn’t surprise anyone. Their bullpen had been shaky in the early months of the season but has improved dramatically since the all-star break. As of now they are 7th in the league in ERA, but bullpens can be finicky. It’s always best to have as solid of a bullpen as possible entering the postseason.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of superstar names available to claim through waivers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some relievers who could help. With that being said, let’s look at a few relievers the Cardinals could consider adding, according to MLBTR’s Steve Adams.
Storen is no Kenley Jansen, but he’s a reliable middle inning arm that can control the ball and strike guys out. He’s been excellent since the All-star break with a K/BB of 13(!). Guys that can command the ball and get strikeouts are always a valuable commodity, especially in the postseason when free baserunners can be ill afforded. Storen is only 29, and acquiring could be a benefit beyond just this season if he was willing to resign with the Cardinals.
It’s true that Storen had issues keeping the ball in the park, but he’s improved dramatically since the beginning of the season. Plus, a majority of the home runs he allowed were at Great American Bandbox, so they need to be taken with a grain of salt. Storen would be a valuable addition to the Cards bullpen. It also helps that the Reds are very out of the race, so they would be much more willing to give up a player like Storen.
That’s MLB record holder Yusmeiro Petit to you. Petit would actually be the perfect addition to the Cardinals bullpen because he represents something the Cardinals lack: a long man. There’s something extremely valuable about a pitcher that can eat up innings. Right now, Petit’s ERA is a career best 2.71 and his WHIP is below 1.
It would be tough to get him, as a litany of teams would probably claim him before the Cardinals, but Petit would provide much needed bullpen depth and take the pressure off of other relievers. Plus, Petit comes very cheap on a $2.25MM salary. The Angels are also decidedly out of the race, so acquiring Petit isn’t completely out of the question.
Belisle falls into a different category than the previous two pitchers because the Twins aren’t quite out of the race yet. Since they are still contending for the AL wild card, it’s unlikely they’ll give up Belisle just yet. They’re only one good losing streak away from giving him up though, so I figured I’d touch on Belisle as an option for the Cardinals anyways.
Belisle’s stats don’t look so great right now, but he’s been riding a 14 inning scoreless streak and has a K/BB of 7.5. Belilse has been in the league for a long time, and besides striking batters out, he can provide veteran experience to some of the younger players come playoff time. Though his stats aren’t completely mind boggling, it’s always nice to have a dependable, veteran arm in the postseason. If he stays hot down the stretch, Belilse could be a real boon in the Cardinals postseason push.
If these names aren’t making you jump for joy, that’s just the nature of waiver acquisitions. Most players are going to be under the radar names that stand to bolster your teams chances in games down the stretch. Hey, even if these relievers help the Cardinals win one additional game, we know that can matter as evidenced from last year.
If I had to pick a preferred player, it’d probably be Petit. He’s performed in the postseason before and he easily has the best numbers of the three. If the Cardinals want to make a postseason push, they need to have a solid bullpen that can go deep into games. Petit adds that value without costing them a fortune or a bunch of prospects.
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson – USA Today