Safe and Sound
Brett Cecil, Seung-Hwan Oh, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist
These four guys are far and away the Cardinals’ best relievers and are firmly in the team’s 2017 plans. While Cecil’s coming off a 3.94 ERA–his worst in a season since he transitioned to relief full-time in 2013–he’s considered one of the most dominant lefties in the league and has held hitters to a .226 average while striking out 270 and walking just 75 in 216 2/3 career innings out of the bullpen. The Cardinals expressed their faith in him this offseason by signing him to a four-year, $30.5 million-dollar deal.
The 34-year-old Oh had a dominant rookie season for the Cardinals in 2016, posting a 1.92 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while collecting 19 saves after earning the closer’s job in June. Rosenthal obviously had his fair share of struggles last season as he dealt with multiple arm injuries, but he’s just 26 years old, and since he allowed just one run, seven hits, and two walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings following his return from the DL in September, there’s reason to believe that he’ll be back to his old self in 2017. Considering that that old self has a career 2.92 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, he’d be a very helpful bullpen weapon if he’s back to full strength.
To an extent, Siegrist will also be looking to bounce back in 2017. The 27-year-old wasn’t bad last season, but his 2.77 ERA (and a semi-concerning 1.5 homers allowed per nine innings) were a drop off from a 2015 season where he posted a 2.17 ERA while holding hitters to a .605 OPS over a league-leading 81 appearances. If he’s going to hold off Rosenthal and Cecil for eighth-inning appearances, he’ll have to be a little bit more consistent as a shutdown reliever.