By: Jim Tsapelas
I may have been a bit melodramatic in a post following the Cardinals early exit in the NLCS when I wrote, “The Cards need to move heaven and earth to re-sign Jason Heyward.” On Friday Heyward ended much mystery and speculation by signing with the Chicago Cubs.
Theo Epstein, General Manager of the Cubs, has an eye for talent. Heyward is a gifted athlete who shall be a good addition for the Cubs. Heyward’s deal is reportedly worth one hundred eighty-four million dollars over eight years. Unconfirmed reports claim the Cardinals and the Washington Nationals offered Heyward two hundred million dollars over ten years.
On Thursday the Redbirds re-signed right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton to a two year, seven and one-half million dollar deal. I was caught off guard and was somewhat surprised by the re-signing of Broxton.
I wonder, with the Broxton signing, what the status or thoughts the Cardinals have related to Jordan Walden. Walden was injured early in the 2015 season and remained on the MLB Official Disabled List through the end of the 2015 season.
Broxton and Rosenthal are similar pitchers. Last season, Walden was to be the set-up man for the eight, and Rosie was established as the closer in the ninth. If Walden fails to be the pitcher of choice and Broxton assumes the eighth, the batters will be exposed to a Rosenthal type of pitcher in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Broxton and Rosenthal throw fastballs in the mid-90’s. Broxton also has a slider. Rosenthal features two fastballs, a sinking fastball in the mid-90’s, and a higher in the strike zone fast ball which reaches ninety eight mph and occasionally reaches one hundred mph. Walden on the other hand, has a four seam fastball which is thrown in the ninety-six to ninety-nine mph range. He also features an off-speed slider with stays in the mid-80’s, and a change-up at eighty-six to eighty-nine mph range.
For the Cardinals’ bullpen to be most effective, the opposing batters need to be fed something more than consecutive innings of fastballs.
On Thursday I reported the Cardinals had picked-up RHP Matthew Bowman in the Rule 5 Draft. That addition came at a cost as the Redbirds lost five minor league players in the Draft.
With the J-Hey saga coming to an end, the Cardinals have expressed interest in both Chris Davis and Alex Gordon. Davis is a free agent first baseman with the Baltimore Orioles. Gordon is a free agent outfielder for the World Champion Kansas City Royals. Both Davis and Gordon would be offensive upgrades for the Cardinals.
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