Cardinals GM says Alex Reyes won't be the team's closer this season, so who will?

Earlier in the week, the St. Louis Cardinals signed veteran reliever Bud Norris to a one-year deal.

Norris, who gained closing experience last season with the Los Angeles Angels, is viewed as a potential ninth-inning option for his new club, along with fellow free-agent signee Luke Gregerson and perhaps a few others. One Cardinal pitcher unlikely to get saves is former top prospect Alex Reyes, who underwent Tommy John surgery last February. Here's what Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch said on a radio hit Thursday:

While the idea of easing Reyes back into action by limiting him to one-inning spurts and simultaneously filling a hole on the roster makes some sense, you can understand Girsch's perspective. Closers are often asked to pitch high-leverage situations on consecutive days, sometimes three or four days in a row. That doesn't seem like an ideal environment for any pitcher returning from elbow surgery. Besides, Reyes is 23 years old and viewed as a potential frontline starter. Moving him to the bullpen might hamper the odds of him reaching his ceiling.

It's worth noting that Reyes isn't expected to return until May at the earliest, so Norris or Gregerson or whomever would be required in April regardless. It's also worth noting that Greg Holland remains on the free-agent market. Holland saved a NL-leading 41 games for the Colorado Rockies in 2017, all the while amassing a 139 ERA+ and 2.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It's unknown if the Cardinals have current interest in signing Holland. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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