Breaking: Cardinals are working on a deal to sign two relievers to “strengthen” deep bullpen

Breaking: Cardinals are working on a deal to sign two relievers to “strengthen” deep bullpen

It was recently decided to allocate these two players. They could strengthen the Cardinals’ already potent bullpen.

This season, the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen hasn’t been a major concern. They are ranked second in BB/9, eighth in fWAR, tenth in K/9, and tenth in saves overall in all of baseball. By most significant criteria, they rank in the top ten bullpens.

That does not exclude the relief corps from improving. Some reinforcements might be required soon because relievers like Andrew Kittredge and Matthew Liberatore are starting to show signs of weakness. In addition, Riley O’Brien, a pitcher with a reputation for coming in mid-game and striking out opponents, was just added to the 60-day Injured List.

Open bullpen spots are typically filled by minor-league starters or relievers who can easily be shuttled to and fro. There is also a surplus of relievers who come on and off waivers on a daily basis. Two players who were recently designated for assignment could fill vital roles for the Cardinals’ bullpen. Roansy Contreras and Tyson Miller are two such relievers.

Following the Seattle Mariners’ reactivation of starter Bryan Woo off the Injured List, Miller, 28, was designated for assignment. Miller hasn’t even reached 50 innings in the majors, and Seattle is his sixth major league squad in nine seasons. Miller has pitched 11.2 innings this year and has a 3.09 ERA, 2.2% walk rate, and a 26.7% strikeout rate. He will undoubtedly observe some regression there because the walk pace is unsustainable. The Cardinals’ bullpen would benefit from Miller’s ability to strike out a respectable number of batters while limiting hits (.207 BABIP). In a short period of time, Tyson Miller’s ERA this year is more enticing than his 5.91 career ERA.

Roansy Contreras, on the other hand, is a bit younger than Miller. He was designated for assignment to make room for super-prospect Paul Skenes to start in the majors. Contreras, 24, was once a top-100 prospect in the Pirates’ system. A former starter, Contreras has floated between the majors and AAA for the last 3 seasons. This year, in 16.1 innings for the Pirates, Roansy has a 4.41 ERA, 21.6% K rate, and a 1.65 WHIP. His walks are a bit high (10.8% walk rate), but he has historically been able to keep that number below 10%. Contreras wouldn’t be as surefire of a signing based on this year’s performance, but his history as a starting pitcher is a bit interesting. He could work further on his craft in AAA Memphis if the Cardinals were to sign him.

In around a week, both of these players will clear waivers. The Cardinals could choose to deal for either before then. That is doubtful, though, as the organization can simply wait to sign both relievers as if they were unrestricted free agents. If the Cardinals decide to sign Miller or Contreras, they can be sent to the minor leagues. That will only occur if a matching 40-man roster move is made. To make place for Contreras or Miller, INF Alfonso Rivas, RP Kolton Ingram, and RP Chris Roycroft might all be released.

Either reliever would provide good depth to a bullpen that will need to be called on more down the stretch. Should another reliever go down or underperform, reinforcements will be needed. Roansy Contreras and Tyson Miller would be intriguing depth relievers who could succeed in the majors this year.

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