MLB Rumors: Cubs-Bellinger threat, Cardinals bullpen sleeper, Red Sox prospect hype

  • An NL team has emerged as a threat to sign Cody Bellinger away from Chicago Cubs
  • The St. Louis Cardinals have a sleeper candidate for their bullpen
  • The Boston Red Sox farm system receives recognition

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Cardinals prospect Gordon Graceffo listed as dark horse bullpen option

The St. Louis Cardinals had one big goal entering this offseason, and that was filling out their starting rotation. After trading away Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty in the middle of this past season and the retirement of Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals had three openings. They filled them by signing Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn.

This offseason, the Cardinals also looked towards adding to their bullpen. After all, they did deal Jordan Hicks last season. Their most recent move, as first reported by FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray, was signing former New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox reliever Keynan Middleton.

With Ryan Hensley set to be the closer and Giovanny Gallegos going to be the set-up man, how would the rest of the bullpen shake out? The Athletic's Katie Woo (subscription required) mentioned that prospect Gordon Graceffo could be an option with a strong showing in spring training.

"He was drafted in 2021 and ascended through the Cardinals’ system as a starting pitcher and could emerge as a viable relief candidate depending on his spring performance," writes Woo. "He will be a non-roster invitee to big-league camp for the second year this season and is already garnering internal consideration for a bullpen role. His fastball command and ability to fill up the zone is how he found success as a starter, but he wasn’t always able to work late into games or mirror the same consistency after three to four innings. If Graceffo has a strong spring showing, he could force his way into a major-league debut as a reliever."

Graceffo was ranked the Cardinals' No. 6 prospect by MLB.com last season. Pitching for Triple-A Memphis in 2023, Graceffo recorded a 4.92 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP, a 4-3 win-loss record, 81 strikeouts, and 45 walks in 86.0 innings (21 games).

We have seen top prospects earn Opening Day roster spots through spring training. Just last season, the Cardinals promoted outfielder Jordan Walker to the roster, and he had a historic hitting streak.

So, you can't necessarily rule out Graceffo making it out of spring training as part of the Cardinals' major league bullpen for the 2024 season.