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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Will Joe Kelly Be the Cardinals Wild Card?

The national rumor mill is hot with speculation that the St. Louis Cardinals are trying to acquire starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox.

Let’s assume for a moment that the rumors are accurate. What might it imply?

1)    There may be concerns about the viability of the current starting five of Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez and Joe Kelly.

2)    As a minimum, the identity of the current sixth starter is unclear. Marco Gonzales obviously needs more seasoning and Tyler Lyons has not been good since his stint on the disabled list.

3)    Of course, Michael Wacha is the wild card. If his injury was expected to clear up soon, going after another starter would seem totally unnecessary.

Or would it?

As we have seen in recent days, Mike Matheny has over-relied on closer Trevor Rosenthal. The manager seems very role-driven in his pen management. Is part of the overuse of Rosenthal a result of not having a clear eighth-inning man?

Former set-up man Martinez is in the rotation and another obvious alternative, lefty Kevin Siegrist, has not yet begun his rehab. Jason Motte has not yet returned to his former effectiveness and funky Pat Neshek, while an all-star, has been used selectively.

While the Cards could easily acquire another Edward Mujica, John Axford or Octavio Dotel at the deadline, they could also look in-house. I am not talking about Jorge Rondon or Eric Fornataro from Memphis, but instead redeploying Kelly.

It is a role in which he is familiar. Not only did Kelly close in college, he has pitched extensively in relief with St. Louis. 30 of his 64 Major League appearances have been out of the pen, including 12 games finished.

If Rosenthal struggles further down the stretch, having Kelly as the setup man and closer-in-reserve could prove to be a good move – if he is not needed in the rotation, that is.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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3 Responses to “Will Joe Kelly Be the Cardinals Wild Card?”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Wong had a .533 slugging percentage at Memphis in 75ABs. He has some pop, for a little guy. He got Rosenthal his first win of the year.
    The Cards can use dramatic wins like the last two nights, to loosen them up. They were in the Series last year and expectations were too high for 2014. When players press, bad things happen. Feel good wins can lift the grim mood and surly fans, and the team might then play better.

    • blingboy says:

      I don’t think expectations were too high. Although I have been repulsed by some of what I’ve seen on the field so far, my expectation remains the same. I expect the road to the pennant will go through St. Louis. I base this on talent, depth and organizational awesomeness.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Wong rips another HR. He should be batting cleanup.
    Meanwhile Big Matt is a hit machine. This gives others hope that they can occasionally collect a hit as well. From such acorns of hope, mighty oak trees grow.

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