Right-handed Cardinals Alex Reyes has yet to kick off this season due to shoulder issues, and now it looks like Reyes could be missing a lot more time. Manager Oli Marmol told reporters (including Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat) that Reyes was stopped after experiencing continuous pain in his right shoulder after a throwing session this week.
Reyes had already had an MRI, and perhaps worryingly, is now seeking a second opinion before deciding on his next course of action. Marmol described the news as “very” disheartening, and noted that Reyes has “been through a lot…you hope he can come back.”
Considered one of baseball’s top prospects during his time in the St. Louis farm system, Reyes’ career was a series of stops and starts due to injuries. A Tommy John operation in 2017 cost Reyes the most time on the injured list, but his shoulder has also been a constant source of concern in recent years.
After pitching just 72 2/3 innings from 2016 to 2020, the Cardinals opted to make Reyes a full-time reliever in 2021, and the result has been both a healthy and impressive season. The right-hander posted a 2.48 ERA and 30% strikeout rate on 72 1/3 frames as the Cards primary edged closer for much of the year, though Reyes was hampered by the steps and circuits. That included the home run that ended the Cardinals’ season, as Reyes cleared. Chris TaylorWalkoff’s home run in last year’s NL wild card game.
Reyes received a stem cell injection in March and, after being transferred to the 60-day injured list, was not eligible to start until June 8. It now seems unlikely that he will hit that target date, and it seems there is a lot of doubt that Reyes will be able to pitch at all in 2022.
Reyes turns 28 in August and earns $2.85 million this season in the second of three years eligible for arbitration. If Reyes misses most or all of the 2022 campaign, he would only receive a tiny raise or his salary would remain at $2.85 million, which wouldn’t be a huge financial outlay for St. Louis. A no-bid can’t be ruled out until we know more about Reyes’ injury status, but given how healthy Reyes has been throwing, the Cardinals would likely lean towards retaining him for see if he can avoid IL in 2023.