The Cardinals Add Another Southpaw

Tony LaRussa still has a fetish for lefty relievers.

Yesterday the Cardinals signed Dennys Reyes for two years and three million. The long-time Twins LOOGY joins quite a collection of lefties already in camp for the Cardinals, which raises the question: why did the Cardinals see it necessary to add another?

The only St Louis lefty entrenched in a gig is Trever Miller, with a battle occurring between Ian Ostlund, Charlie Manning, Royce Ring, and Katsuhiko Maekawa. That seems like a decent collection of potentially useful lefty relievers and at cheap prices. Unfortunately, the Cardinals have yet to see something in spring training from the grouping, or at least something that would inspire confidence.

Rather than waiting it out the Cardinals went out and added another free agent. As Viva El Birdos covered yesterday, Reyes was one of three talented lefties available on the market, alongside Will Ohman and Joe Beimel. The difference between the trio likely came down to asking price, to which Reyes apparently fit the bill.

Over the last three years Reyes has posted win values of: 0.6, 0.1, and 1.1. That’s not too shabby, considering 2007’s low total came alongside Reyes worst FIP and subsequently the lowest workload (29 innings, 17 less than 2008 and 21 less than 2006). Reyes’ raw numbers should improve in St. Louis as long as LaRussa avoids the pitfalls of Ron Gardenhire’s usage: right-handers. Reyes was used nearly 50% of the time against righties in 2006, 41% in 2007, and 46% in 2008.

Reyes’ strong point is success against lefties, and while he’s not a complete liability versus righties, there’s just nothing to be gained from letting him face more than the occasional weak hitter in any kind of meaningful situation.

Frankly, I’m not sure if they didn’t give up on the ragtag combination a little too hastily, but at the price, and for the quality Reyes brings, it’s probably not worth the fuss.

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It can’t hurt them. The AAV of the deal is less than 1.5 million and the Cards payroll is down by about 10 million from last year. Also, Miller has a big health risk, Ring and Manning have performance issues and Katsuhiko Maekawa is asian. Reyes is good bet to produce at a relatively high level, and will add some stability to the pen.