By Rob Rains
Once ranked as one of the game’s top pitching prospects, Alex Reyes became a free agent on Friday when he was not offered a contract for next season by the Cardinals.
Reyes has suffered through numerous injuries throughout his career, including missing all of this season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Because he was eligible for arbitration, the Cardinals would have had to offer Reyes a contract worth about $3 million for next season.
Reyes was one of two players not offered a contract before Friday’s deadline, along with outfielder Ben DeLuzio. The moves reduced the team’s roster to 37 players.
In a statement released by his agent, who is also his brother, Adriel Reyes, Reyes thanked the fans and the Cardinals “for believing in me, giving me the opportunity to begin my dream of playing professional baseball. Wish everyone nothing but the best.”
Reyes, 28, signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent in 2013 before making his major-league debut in 2016. His injury problems began the next season, when he missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
From 2018 through 2020, Reyes suffered other injuries, including a broken hand, and pitched in a combined 20 major-league games, covering a total of 26 2/3 innings over those three seasons.
He emerged as the team’s closer in 2021, earning a spot on the All-Star team, and finished the year with 29 saves in what turned out to be his only full season with the Cardinals.
The shoulder injury was discovered when he reported to the delayed spring training following the end of the lockout.
Reyes has spent this season rehabbing in hopes of being able to pitch again next season. Reports are that his rehab has been going well and that he expects to be back in the majors at some point in 2023.
It is possible, but unlikely, that he could still re-sign with the Cardinals.
The Cardinals did offer contracts to their other nine players eligible for salary arbitration – Genesis Cabrera, Tommy Edman, Jack Flaherty, Ryan Helsley, Jordan Hicks, Dakota Hudson, Andrew Knizner, Jordan Montgomery and Tyler O’Neill.
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Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports