It was a short ride with the St. Louis Cardinals, but J.A. Happ officially announced his retirement from baseball. The pitching depth of the Cardinals has always been an issue, but the team still avoided Happ, but it all makes sense now.
Left-handed pitching is not easy to come by, especially for the Cardinals, and Happ could have been the missing piece in a somewhat depleted rotation. Happ, the 39-year-old, officially announced his retirement on The Heart Strong Podcast.
Having Happ as an end of the rotation starter would pay dividends right about now for St. Louis. It is obvious there is no calling for Happ to come fill the void in our rotation, but the Cardinals need to figure out another option as the NL Central race continues.
Happ’s Career with the Cardinals
During last season’s trade deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired J.A. Happ from the Minnesota Twins, and initially, fans were not too pleased. Happ did a good job at quieting down the naysayers.
The trade sent John Gant and a minor-leaguer to Minnesota for Happ. Fans of the team were not very welcoming of another aging arm, that was before they saw him pitch of course.
Happ started 11 games in the back-half of the season, throwing 54 innings going 5-2 with a 4.00 earned-run average and a 1.278 WHIP. Gant is 1-5 this season on the Twins with a 5.61 ERA. Giving up the aging Gant for 11 games of Happ may have actually been worth it, but it would be nice to have his arm this season.
Jon Lester and Happ both retiring made the Cardinals lose two consistent left-handed arms, but it is time to look towards solutions to the loss of these veteran pitchers.
“It was emotional — something I didn’t expect,” Happ said “I called my agent that day, right after we turned that game on, and said, ’I think this is it.’ I told the people I feel like I needed to tell. I think I’m still processing it, but I do wake up feeling good about it, and I’m happy to start the process of being a full-time dad, for the time being, at the very least.”
Pitching Options for St. Louis
At this point, nearly any option is a good option. St. Louis is running out of pitching as they desperately await the comebacks from Jordan Hicks and Jack Flaherty.
Jack Woodford was sent down once again, and the Cardinals are running out of reliable arms, especially left-handed ones. There is one solution to this problem that I would be thrilled with.
Packy Naughton from Triple-A Memphis is another option, or a trade for a pitcher like Will Crowe of the Pittsburgh Pirates may also be smart.
Dallas Keuchel was just DFA’d by the Chicago White Sox after struggling all year. St Louis sure loves their aging left-handed pitchers, and I would love it if we took our chance on Keuchel.
The 34-year-old is 2-5 on the season with a 7.88 ERA. Okay, the numbers are alarming, but I am okay with taking the risk. The Cardinals are on track to win over 90 games this season and having Keuchel as a fourth or fifth-day starter rather than a minor-leaguer is something I 100% want head coach Oliver Marmol to consider.