QUESTION: On your recent podcast, you compared the 2019 bullpen to the one for the 2013 pennant-winners. If all goes well, what is the highest-upside bullpen by the end of the year, and how does that compare to opening day?
GOOLD: Great question, and it's something that will gain clarity as the season progresses -- far more than it will now. For example, Dominic Leone could be a part of the upside bullpen and the opening day bullpen, or he could be a part of neither. Not really sure until he's getting into games and there's a feel for how he's pitching.
Thanks for listening to the podcast, because the notion I was trying to pass along is that you could see Genesis Cabrera arriving and bringing velocity like we saw in 2013 from, say, Kevin Siegrist. And there's Alex Reyes or Ryan Helsley who could be in the bullpen like Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal of that season. The parallels are there. Dakota Hudson, Ryan Miller, Jordan Hicks -- these are the bedrock relievers around which a strong bullpen can be built. And John Brebbia is right there as the likely fourth for opening day and best-option.
John Gant and Mike Mayers would be in the next group -- and since both are out of options, they're good bets for opening day obviously.
A chat poll asked readers who they thought would save the most games for the 2019 Cardinals. Hicks got the most votes, and when asked if he agreed with the results, Goold replied:
Makes the most sense at this point, yes. That's where the Cardinals want the late innings to go -- to Hicks -- whether it's in 2019 or 2020. But it also sets them up so that if Votto or Rizzo or Yelich are up in the ninth inning, then Miller gets those saves, and if it's Bryant or Braun or a righthanded hitter, then it's Hicks that gets those ninth innings. That's the early setup.