The St. Louis Cardinals plans to revamp their pitching staff appear to be extending beyond the rotation.
Reports earlier in the week had indicated that the Cardinals would be shopping at the top of the free agent starting pitching market. Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray were two pitchers specifically named as targets. However, it appears as though the Cardinals are looking at their bullpen as well. Yahoo Japan reported that they are eyeing international free agent Yuki Matsui.
Yuki Matsui would be nice fit for St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals’ rotation is going to get plenty of attention. General manager John Mozeliak had previously stated that he feels the team needs to add three starters this offseason. However, the bullpen makes sense as a focal point as well. Ryan Helsley was easily their best reliever, but he also missed time due to injury. Adding an arm such as Matsui would make a great deal of sense.
Matsui has been absolutely dominant in Nippon Professional Baseball. He has posted a 2.40 ERA and a 1.110 WHiP over his 658.2 innings, striking out 859 batters with 295 walks, notching 236 saves. His stuff says it should play at the major league level as he has good carry on his fastball, a plus splitter, and a slider with late movement. However, his fastball only sits in the mid 90s and may not have the velocity needed for the late innings.
Despite his less than intimidating fastball, Matsui’s results speak for themselves. He has proven that he can get players out at one of the highest levels of professional baseball. His splitter and slider may be good enough where the lack of fastball velocity does not matter. Measurables and radar gun readings are nice, but results matter more.
The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly interested in Japanese reliever Yuki Matsui. He would be a nice fit in the back of their bullpen.