Oh, who converted 19 of 23 save chances in 2016, is the team's unquestioned closer heading into the 2017 campaign according to manager Mike Matheny, Rich Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "I don't think we've made any question about that," Matheny said before the Cardinals' third official workout for batterymen. "As far as Oh stands, he's going to be our guy who gets the ball late in the game."
The 34-year-old made a splashy major league debut in 2016 after a dominant career in Japan and Korea, compiling a 1.92 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 79.2 innings. Oh's success was critical last season, considering former closer Trevor Rosenthal struggled through multiple injuries and only pitched 10.1 innings after the All-Star break. Rosenthal could possibly audition for the fifth starter role in spring training or potentially be deployed as a middler reliever/setup man, but in either scenario, he won't be taking save opportunities from Oh, who has the full confidence of his manager following last season's dominant effort. "He was huge for us last year," said Matheny. "I don't think he's capable of being scared. He's special. I hope his English continues to improve because I think he's got a lot to teach our guys. The way he's gone about his business has been very impressive so far."