Sunday, April 14, 2013

External closing options for the Cardinals

Last week I took a look at some of the internal options for the Cardinals at closer and, with Mitchell Boggs blowing another save today along with Trevor Rosenthal throwing a shaky 8th inning, its time to look at some external options.

Trade Candidates

While the trade market usually doesn't develop until July, there are a couple players who could be moved early.

Carlos Marmol, Cubs

The Cardinals could get Marmol for a song, however why would they want him?  Marmol has already lost the closer job to Kyuji Fujikawa and, even after Fujikawa recently got hurt, Marmol was not in the discussion for the job.  The Cardinals certainly have better internal options that to choose this route.

Rafael Betancourt, Rockies

Betancourt was the subject of trade rumors last season and certainly could be on the block again this year.  He saved 31 games for the Rockies last year and already has 4 saves this year.  However, at 38 and set to become a free agent after this season, the Rocks could move him early, while his value is high, and move Rex Brothers or Wilton Lopez into the closer role.

Free Agents

Francisco Rodriguez

After setting the season save mark with 62 back in 2008, Rodriguez has seen his stock dropped dramatically the last few years, posting the highest ERA of his career (4.38) last year.  However, he still struck out a batter per inning last year and may benefit from a change in scenery.  He is only 31 years old and could come relatively cheap.

Brian Wilson

Wilson is still working on building up his arm strength after undergoing Tommy John surgery last April.  He does not want to pitch for teams until he is 100%, which may not be until the end of the month.  He also apparently only wants to sign with a team that will make him the closer.  Cardinals fans most likely would embrace "The Beard" much like the Mad Hungarian back in the day and it would make for an interesting addition to the team.  But can the Cardinals afford to wait until May to settle their closer role?

If I had to rank the external options, I would rank them Wilson, Betancourt, Rodriguez and Marmol.  None of them is a sure thing, but if the Cardinals could somehow lure Wilson with a one year contract, it might be worth the risk.

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