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.
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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
Royals and Athletics Swap Parts
Miami Sends Christian Yelich to Brewers
Blue Jays Acquire Randal Grichuk
Blue Jays Sign Curtis Granderson
Giants Trade for Andrew McCutchen
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?
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
Wellington Castillo Inks Deal with White Sox
Potential Closers Traded: Boxberger and Johnson
Doug Fister Signs with Rangers