Cardinals non-tender Alex Reyes – MLB Trade Rumors

Cardinals non-tender Alex Reyes – MLB Trade Rumors

The Cardinals announced they will not tender the right-hander a contract Alex Reyes or gardener Ben DeLuzio. Both players are headed to free agency. MLBTR Contributor Matt Swartz had predicted a $2.85 million arbitration salary for Reyes, while DeLuzio is not eligible for arbitration.

Reyes was once touted as one of the top prospects in all of baseball, regularly appearing on several publications’ top 100 lists, including a fourth-place finish on Baseball America’s pre-2017 list of the top prospects in baseball. Underlying that was some elite stuff, headlined by a triple-digit fastball and a lethal curveball.

After tearing up minor league hitters, he made his big league debut in 2016 and did not disappoint. The then-21-year-old pitched 46 innings of 1.57 ERA ball, giving up just one home run and striking out batters 27.5% of the time. He looked like a major league pitcher, and seemed certain to be at the top of Cardinals rotations for many years to come.

Prior Tommy John surgery would wipe out his 2017 campaign, but he appeared to be back to his best in minor league rehab stints in 2018, striking out 44 batters in 23 innings and four starts. Disaster would strike after Reyes was activated, however, as he went just four innings in his first start and eventually underwent season-ending surgery on a torn tendon in his lat.

He would return in 2019, but walked six batters in three innings and was immediately optioned to the minor leagues. That began another injury-plagued year and Reyes would only add 37 1/3 innings of 6.03 ERA in the minors as he again spent most of the season on the injured list.

The Cardinals brought him back in 2020, but now opted to use him out of the bullpen. While walks were still a concern (16.3%), Reyes posted his best season since his 2016 effort, pitching 19 2/3 innings of 3.20 ERA ball, striking out batters 31.2 % of time He followed that up with the start of the 2021 campaign, pitching to a 1.52 ERA as a closer for St. Louis and earning a trip to the All Star game. The second half was a different story, however, and Reyes was relegated to the closer role and finished with a dismal 5.52 ERA in the second half.

Injury problems returned again in 2022, and Reyes underwent shoulder surgery in May that ended his season and prompted the Cardinals to move away from him today. As far as he went, that rookie season accounted for 1.3 of his career 1.7 fWAR, an unfortunate return for a player who was once seen as a foundational piece in St Louis.

That said, his raw stuff still seems to be there, and despite all the injury issues, his velocity has remained consistently in the upper 90s. Depending on his health, Reyes could make for a very attractive draft pick for any number of teams. He’s only 28 years old, and teams would love to take a chance on an arm like his.

DeLuzio is the other non-tendered Cardinal. The center fielder appeared in 22 games in 2022, mostly as a defensive backup, as he made just 25 plate appearances, batting .150/.292/.200. While many of the non-tendered players today are arbitration-eligible, it is not uncommon to see non-tendered players informed that they will not receive a contract, as the Cardinals have done here to free up a 40-man cap.

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