The St. Louis Cardinals didn’t just lose Albert Pujols this offseason. They also lost a key component to their bullpen in Octavio Dotel.
After coming over from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Colby Rasmus trade, Dotel was a workhorse in the bullpen.
In 29 games after the trade, Dotel had a 3.28 ERA and allowed only nine earned runs.
Now he’s moving on to the Detroit Tigers, leaving the Cardinals with a hole to fill in their bullpen.
Here are five current free agent relievers who could come in and fill that void.
Linebrink is getting pretty old, but he’s still got a lot to offer a team.
He’s a crafty veteran who can still get people out and pitch a lot of innings.
He’s very similar to Dotel, so signing him would be a good replacement.
He won’t give you quite as many innings as Dotel, but his 3.51 career ERA is similar.
In addition to losing Octavio Dotel, Trever Miller is also a free agent who might not return to the Cardinals.
Therefore, the team should look at signing Marte, a lefty specialist who can replace Miller’s production.
He’s struggled with the Yankees the past two years, but if anyone can turn Marte’s career around, it’s St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan.
Aardsma has been a closer in Seattle for the past two years, racking up 69 saves.
The Cardinals need a guy who can be relied on to close out a game if current closer Jason Motte goes through a slump (as he’s known to do).
Fernando Salas seems to be better off in middle relief, so adding Aardsma at the back end of the bullpen makes a lot of sense.
Like Aardsma, Madson is another guy who has been a closer in the past.
He has 52 career saves and 113 career holds. He’d be ideal as a closer partner for Motte.
The past two years, he’s posted ERAs of 2.55 and 2.37, so he’s a guy that will be solid at the ends of games.
He throws a powerful fastball and has been very effective in his brief career.
He’s currently recovering from a torn labrum and rotator cuff, but he should be ready for spring training.
His career 2.60 ERA would be a welcome addition to the St. Louis bullpen.