The Cardinals are working to re-sign late-inning reliever Luis Garcia after the hard-throwing righty’s breakout season in St. Louis, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Even if the Cardinals do bring back Garcia, they will still target at least one additional potential high leverage reliever. Alex Reyes handled much of the high leverage workload last year, but they’d like to give Reyes an opportunity to claim a rotation spot.
As for Garcia, he has long struggled with his command, but he held it together for a career-low 5.9 percent walk rate in his 34 appearances with the Cardinals last season. That kind of control with a sinking fastball averaging more than 98 mph is a killer combination that helped Garcia notch a 25.2 percent strikeout rate and 3.24 ERA/2.72 FIP in 33 1/3 innings. His innings weren’t cheap ones either, as Garcia managed to save a pair of games and preserve leads enough to earn 12 holds.
Along with Garcia and another late inning arm, Goold also mentions sinkerballing starters like Steven Matz or Alex Cobb as a potential target for the Cardinals. Both are coming off relatively strong seasons and would likely benefit from pitching in front of the Gold Glove laden infield in St. Louis. The Cardinals have starting options with Dakota Hudson coming back from Tommy John and Reyes potentially moving into the rotation, but with deadline acquisitions Jon Lester and J.A. Happ now free agents, there are a fair number of innings to go around.