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St. Louis Cardinals: Implications of Gonzales’ Injury

Cardinals 4/14

News broke yesterday that Cardinals defacto 6th starter, Marco Gonzales, will be out for the season due to Tommy John surgery.

The Cardinals’ strength has always been their depth. Their plug and play formula has been a recipe for success over the past few years. This recipe, however, has been challenged in the early parts of the 2016 season. First with the loss of Jhonny Peralta, then Jordan Walden, then Ruben Tejada, then Brayan Pena, and then Tommy Pham. Some of the injuries off of this laundry list have brought about positive outcomes like the emergence of Jeremy Hazelbaker and Aledmys Diaz.

We have to add another name to that list after the news yesterday: Marco Gonzales. The southpaw was meant to be the next man up if anything were to happen to the rotation. But now that title belongs to the less reliable Tim Cooney. News like this has very few consequences in the short-term but could prove detrimental in the long run.

But injury hypotheticals aside, what does this mean for the future of the Cardinals or at least up until the playoffs? I have one name for you: Alex Reyes.

Reyes is currently carrying out a suspension for marijuana use last season and is waiting for his chance to reaffirm his top prospect status. This injury could force the Cardinals to fast track the prospect. While many would think this is a fool’s decision and may be somewhat impatient, think about the possibility of Reyes being a spot starter when you are trying to save Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez for a playoff run.

At the end of the season in 2015, they were both gased or injured. There was no reliable fill in starter. Now plug in a pitcher who can hit 100 mph late in the game and who has a 12-6 curve that many believe to be the best in the minors. You aren’t giving away a win to rest your starters. You are simply throwing out something that can throw faster, granted a little more wild. This is far from rolling over the opposing team.

The early emergence of Reyes would also lead to a new weapon for an already stacked Cardinals bullpen. All of this is done by the injury to Gonzales. A September call up was already in the future for the flamethrower Reyes but this could force him into a role similar to what we saw from Wacha in 2013. You remember that don’t you? A near no-hitter at the end of the season followed by one of the most dominant postseasons in recent memory. And from all accounts, Reyes is a better pitcher as long as he can stay on the field.

Many would view this news as another outcome from the run of bad luck the Redbirds have had over the past season.

I view it as an opportunity to get possibly your best future pitcher into the rotation sooner rather than later.

-Hope you enjoyed

Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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