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Cardinals Add Bud Norris to a Crowded Bullpen

The Cardinals have signed Bud Norris to a one-year deal to add some depth to their bullpen. They have yet to acquire a lights-out proven closer, meaning the team’s ninth-inning role needs to be closely monitored.

For Norris, he’s become a decent reliever once he began his transition to the bullpen in 2015. As a reliever, his walk rate stayed the same, while his strikeouts jumped from ~8 K/9 to 10 K/9. While the strikeouts increased, he has not seen an improvement in his ERA because he seems more hittable. Last season, he broke through with a 2.23 ERA in the first half until a knee injury derailed his season. Overall, he posted a 4.21 ERA in 62 innings for the Angels.


Norris joins a crowded Cardinals bullpen where no one stands out. Besides Norris, I could see a case for Luke Gregerson, Brett Cecil, Tyler Lyons, Alex Reyes, or Dominic Leone possibly getting some saves. This situation is tough to figure out.

This is how I’d approach the situation on draft day: Grab the Opening Day closer, which right now appears to be Gregerson. While he holds the job, get as many saves as possible. Otherwise, stay away from the other roles until a hierarchy gets established. One of the other arms — potentially Reyes if he’s sent to the bullpen when he joins the Cardinals in May — will emerge as the obvious replacement if Gregerson fails. That said, it’s really tough to determine who will set up right now and who will fall right on their face.

Previous Hot Stove Analysis

Cubs Get Their Ace, Sign Yu Darvish

Rangers Add Seung Hwan Oh to Bullpen

Mets Add Todd Frazier on Two-Year Deal

Diamondbacks Sign Alex Avila

Royals and Athletics Swap Parts

Brewers Sign Lorenzo Cain

Miami Sends Christian Yelich to Brewers

Giants Sign Austin Jackson

Blue Jays Acquire Randal Grichuk

Blue Jays Sign Curtis Granderson

Giants Trade for Andrew McCutchen

Astros Acquire Gerrit Cole

Twins Grab Their Closer, Sign Addison Reed

Mets Bring Back Jay Bruce on Three-Year Deal

Toronto Acquires Yangervis Solarte from San Diego

Royals, Dodgers, and White Sox Complete Three-Way Trade

Rockies Fill Closer Vacancy with Wade Davis

Arizona Adds Bullpen Depth with Yoshihisa Hirano

Indians Fill First-Base Void with Yonder Alonso

Brewers Bolster Rotation with Jhoulys Chacin

Orioles Lose Zach Britton, Brad Brach Likely Closer

Giants Add Evan Longoria, Rays Create a Mess

Red Sox Bring Back Mitch Moreland

CC Sabathia Returns to Yankees

Dodgers-Braves Make Five-Player Trade

Angels in the Infield: Zack Cozart Signs with Los Angeles

Phillies Ink Carlos Santana to Three-Year Deal

Everyone’s Signing Relievers, But Who Will Close?

Angels Trade for Ian Kinsler

Cardinals Finally Get Their Marlins Outfielder

Cubs and Twins Gamble on Smyly and Pineda

Chase Headley Gets Dumped on Padres

Cubs and Cardinals Add Potential Closers

Giancarlo Stanton Joins Yankees

Rockies Sign Chris Iannetta

Angels Land Shohei Ohtani

Tigers Sign Mike Fiers

Dee Gordon Traded to Mariners

Cubs Sign Tyler Chatwood

Rangers Sign Mike Minor

Wellington Castillo Inks Deal with White Sox

Potential Closers Traded: Boxberger and Johnson

Doug Fister Signs with Rangers

Ryon Healy Traded to Mariners

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