While watching the Cardinals finish off the Brewers last night, I realized Al Hrabosky had changed his tune quite a bit regarding much maligned pitcher Anthony Reyes. Instead of hinting at Reyes’ “inevitable” trade from the Cardinals, the Mad Hungarian instead took this time to watch and appreciate the transformation that occurred.
This is something that all of Cardinals Nation has begun to do. Reyes was 2-14 last season for the Cardinals, sporting a dreadful 6.04 ERA and a fastball that barely touched the 90s. Not only did he look flustered, he looked like a scrub. The talent that once made scouts peg him as a future star was nowhere to be found.
But as a reliever for the Redbirds this year, Reyes has been nasty. Besides one minor hiccup this season with the game already put away, Reyes has been flawless. His fastball has grazed 97 miles per hour in recent appearances and his breaking pitches have been slicing all over the strikezone. With the Cardinals reportedly shopping Reyes, I beg one thing: STOP!
The Cards NEED to hold on to Anthony Reyes.
There are many indicators pointing towards Reyes being a productive, and even premier, pitcher in the league. The first is his stuff. The high-leg kick, the mid-90s fastball, and the three-quarters delivery—everything we loved Reyes for upon his arrival to the bigs—is all back. With all of this, he is still a top-flight talent.
Also, Reyes is still young at 26. Plenty of pitchers have begun to reach their potential in the MLB after that age. Some dealt with durability issues, (Erik Bedard, Chris Carpenter and Matt Morris), or played overseas before their arrival here (Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez, Hideo Nomo etc.). He might not have the 20 season career of Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens, but a productive one is still absolutely attainable.
Lastly, nobody is ruling out a permanent change to the bullpen, Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood and the Cards own Ryan Franklin head a long list of starters who flourished once in the pen. The Cardinals bullpen is old—Russ Springer (39), Ryan Franklin (35 in one month), Jason Isringhausen (35)—so if Reyes could be efficient, he has the chance to be a staple there for a long time.
Honestly, the Cardinals are in a great position. They don’t need Reyes in the rotation, or even in the bullpen for that matter, but he’s still a great asset to the team right now. How perfect would be he for the Mets or Yankees, who are looking to acquire youth and starting pitching? If John Mozeliak trades him for a decent middle infielder, or prospects, it might prove to be a great move.
At one point Reyes was the Cardinals top-ranked prospect. He might be fulfilling those predictions of greatness right before our eyes this season. And not even Mozeliak, who has proved he’s not afraid to work a big deal, would trade a blue-chip prospect like that.