Cardinals: 3 best high-leverage free agent relievers to sign

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St. Louis Cardinals rumors

The latest St. Louis Cardinals rumors suggest the team will look to add high-leverage relievers to the bullpen. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The latest St. Louis Cardinals rumors say the team will focus on adding high-leverage relief pitchers to their bullpen. 

The latest St. Louis Cardinals rumors have set a precedent for our expectations once the MLB lockout ends. Hoping to win the National League Central and avoid another one-game sudden death loss, the Cardinals are reportedly eager to improve the bullpen with high-leverage relievers according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

It won’t be a closer like free agent Kenley Jansen the Cardinals target. Instead, these Cardinals rumors have them focused on guys who can bridge the innings to the ninth when Giovanny Gallegos will most likely take the ball.

Alongside other notable Cardinals relievers such as Jordan Hicks, Alex Reyes, Genesis Cabrera, and Ryan Helsley, it seems St. Louis is geared up to try and do their best to shorten games. Fortunately for them, there are some nice players still available for them to add to the bullpen for the 2022 season.

3. Andrew Chafin fits what the Cardinals looking for from the southpaw side

Andrew Chafin is more than his mustache. Last year, with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics, he combined to go 2-4 with a 1.83 ERA with 5 saves. Incredibly experienced in the role of high-leverage reliever, most of his career was spent with the Arizona Diamondbacks before a 2020 trade brought him to Chicago.

Chafin has, somewhat quietly, put together a nice 3.30 ERA over the course of 343.1 big league innings. An average of 9.3 strikeouts per nine doesn’t put him in an elite class. However, with 8.4 per nine last season, he still managed to post his career-best ERA. This shouldn’t be a big concern for the Cardinals if a few more outs of his come via other means than a strike three call.

Aside from Cabrera, the most likely southpaw candidate to open the season with St. Louis is T.J. McFarland—a teammate of Chafin’s in Arizona from 2017-2019. Last year was a bit of an epiphany for him, putting together a 2.56 ERA with the Cardinals.

McFarland isn’t so high-leverage, though. Averaging just 5.3 strikeouts per nine in his career, he pitches to contact. Chafin, a year younger as well, would be an upgrade.

There’s certainly room for three lefties in the St. Louis bullpen. But with these Cardinals rumors suggesting they want high-leverage arms, it would make sense for them to turn elsewhere for some lefty help.

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