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The St. Louis Cardinals are certain to be active once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between MLB owners and the MLBPA.
According to reporting from St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Derrick Goold, the Cardinals will seek out a couple of relief pitchers. Cards GM Michael Girsch noted that the title of reliever is not as important as “finding an effective reliever who can fit several roles.”
After a tumultuous 2021 season for the pitching staff, the Cardinals will be looking for relievers who can go multiple innings in the middle of a game or even close out a game.
The number one target post-lockout could very well be Ryan Tepera.
Cardinals should pursue Ryan Tepera
Tepera is a pitcher the Cardinals were reportedly targeting prior to the lockout.
During the 2021 season for the Chicago White Sox, the free agent pitched in 65 games going 0-2 with 21 holds and two saves. He gave up 35 hits, 19 earned runs, and 19 walks. He threw 74 strikeouts and had a called strike-out rate of 30.6%, which is quite effective.
Tepera mostly uses a slider that averages 86.5 mph with a 32.1-inch vertical drop with a 35% active spin rate. Tepera also uses a four-seam fastball, a sinker, and a change-up.
The Cardinals generally find pitchers who throw off-speed stuff, such as Tepera’s slider, attractive to their staff as well as their defense.
Using off-speed pitches allows a pitcher to build confidence in the defense behind them. It would be difficult to not find confidence in the infield defense for the Cardinals. The Cardinals received a lot of gold this off-season with Paul Goldschmidt, Tommy Edman, Nolan Arenado, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader all receiving Rawlings Gold Glove honors. Toss in Yadier Molina, a nine-time Gold Glove-winning catcher, who pitchers rave about working alongside, and the Cardinals have a lot to offer a pitcher with good stuff.
MLB insider Robert Murray said Tepera could land a two-year deal worth $4 – 5 million.
The Cardinals re-signed reliever T.J. McFarland to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. They added starter Steven Matz to a four-year deal worth $44 million.
The Cardinals are certain to be busy once the lockout ends. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.