The St. Louis Cardinals learned some things about themselves in their loss Monday to the New York Yankees — the club desperately misses Kevin Siegrist. Siegrist is a lefty with a 97 mph fastball, a rare commodity from the left side of the mound. Before arm issues, he had largely been effective in stifling opposing teams and when a lefty was needed on Monday, the aging and soft-tossing Randy Choate was called upon. That did not work out so well.
Choate got hammered, took the loss, and now the Cardinals are faced with a serious need a LOOGY. The club does not have many of those to rely upon, and Tim Cooney, a lithe 23-year-old with improving stuff, has a repeatable delivery with a penchant for getting the ball down in the zone. Some have even whispered, given some similarities, that he could be like Cliff Lee. But that is for later.
While Cooney’s stuff, build, and delivery does scream eventual starter, for now the Cardinals are in need of reliability in the pen, especially from the left side. If Cooney can make his curve work, he will be more than adequate to come into high-leverage situations and disarm the opponent. He simply has stuff Choate does not have and will not likely get back. Plus, it gives a potential future starter a chance to get his feet wet without wearing down.
All of that aside, the Cardinals are in need of bullpen help across the board, and the farm looks poised to provide some. There are not many veteran arms floating around worth a risk, and Cooney has a lot of upside plus a good mental approach. While his metrics in triple-A are middling, he would only needed for one batter at a time, and may fit in well in that role as he learns to get outs against higher-skilled hitters.
And what choice does the club have? More Choate? That boat won’t float.