The St. Louis Cardinals, who have been quiet since acquiring Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves by sending their young pitchers, Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves, have made their mark on the Winter Meetings by reportedly signing slugger Mark Reynolds to a one-year deal per Jon Heyman.
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has made it obvious the Cards were looking for a RH power bat to balance out lefties in their lineup, while adding a force to reckon with off the bench. Reynolds fits that description, as he hit 22 homers last season while playing 130 games with the Brewers. His strikeout rate last season, while still very high(28.3% according to Fangraphs), was still his lowest since 2007.
With Matt Adams, a lefty, playing first, and Carpenter, a lefty, playing third, Reynolds has been signed to balance lineup by filling a much-needed spot the Cardinals were missing last postseason, a power bat off the bench, and flexibility on the field.
The struggle for the Cardinals to find a right-handed power bat was in part due to the playing time they could not promise to the bigger bats such as Michael Morse. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Cardinals had also reached out to Richie Weeks before signing Reynolds.
While the Cardinals entered the Meetings as the most complete team, filling their main needs with the Heyward/Walden trade, it is arguable that they are now done with their shopping, after signing Matt Belisle to their bullpen, adding Heyward in RF, and Walden for stability in the later innings. As of now, it seems Carlos Martinez is the favorite to take the 5th spot in the rotation, as he is “playing with a purpose”, according to GM John Mozeliak, as Martinez has switched his number to his late, best friend, Oscar Taveras, who died in a fatal car crash.
As the Cubs have gotten better, the Reds have been dealing their starters away, the Brewers have remained stagnant, and the Pirates have been making moves in their rotation, the Cardinals are still the favorite for the division, and this move only makes them better, filling a small, but much-needed spot.