St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said, right after his club was knocked out of the post season, that it was a priority to find left-handed help in the bullpen for 2015.
There was talk for a while that the Redbirds would go after former Baltimore Orioles southpaw Andrew Miller. After putting on a stellar 2014 performance with 33 hits allowed in 62 1/3 innings and a sparkling 2.02 ERA, the Cardinals passed as the bidding went up and Miller instead signed with the New York Yankees.
Why did the Cardinals not follow through on their stated intention to sign a lefty bullpenner?
I'm hoping it's because the St. Louis front office believes Kevin Siegrist is healthy and otherwise ready to resume being the player he was in 2013. That's what Siegrist claimed last week when he announced his arm to be 100 percent. But there is a long way between wishful thinking and getting the job done.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
A pitcher who had a ridiculously good ERA of 0.45 and allowed 17 hits in 39 2/3 innings in 2013, Siegrist was expected to contend to be the Cardinals' set-up man in 2014. Instead, he hurt his arm early and had a halting return to the field. By the time the end of the season rolled around, Siegrist couldn't even crack the playoff roster. His season ended with a 1-4 record and a 6.82 ERA.
I'm skeptical of relievers because there are so many of them who have one great season but then are never heard from again. But Siegrist is a big boy with lots of weapons. He never relied on smoke and mirrors. If he's healthy, there's no reason he can't be a top reliever again.
It would be a huge boost to the Birds not only to get Siegrist back as a force in the bullpen -- but he was a starting pitcher as late as 2012 in the minor leagues with 49 starts under his belt. If he's truly healthy, at only 25, he could be a factor in the rotation if the St. Louis veterans are unable to hold up.
But, if all goes to plan, he could be the difference between a good Cardinals bullpen and an excellent one.