Dodgers make potential bullpen steal of offseason with deal for ex-Cardinals stud

Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

He may be a bullpen risk, but for the price the Dodgers paid for one of the most coveted bounce back relief assets of the offseason, former Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes can be whatever he wants to be.

As long as the luxury tax threshold isn't an obstacle, there's no bad way to spend $1.1 million in the game of baseball, and Andrew Friedman somehow came out on top of what was theorized to be a Reyes bidding war by offering only that paltry sum.

There are several reasons Reyes is no longer a Cardinal, of course. There are no guarantees here. Reyes has rarely, if ever, managed to stay healthy; he missed the 2017 season (Tommy John), and threw just four innings in 2018 (lat strain/elbow recovery) and three in the bigs in 2019 (37.1 innings of 6.03 ERA baseball in the minors). After emerging as an All-Star in 2021, he suffered a new ailment: shoulder issues, eventually leading to surgery before his season ever began. Tommy John recovery is tough enough. Shoulder rehab, which should bleed into the 2023 regular season? It's an unknown.

Add in the control issues that have dogged Reyes throughout his time in the bigs -- he even walked 52 in 72.1 innings during his All-Star 2021 season -- and you have a player whose potential still must be matched by his performance.

But ... again ... $1.1 million. This was supposed to be the most coveted non-tender of the offseason. This was supposed to be the most impressive newfound free agent. How did the rest of baseball let him get into the Dodgers' lab for $1.1 million?!

Dodgers sign reliever Alex Reyes; contract details

Reyes received a patented Dodgers "one year with an option" deal, but should be missing less time in his first season than TJ recoverers like Tommy Kahnle and the currently-laid-up Blake Treinen.

The key word, though, is "should". We've seen Reyes have to spend an entire additional season in the minors because his previous rehab derailed his progress. We've seen an elbow become a lat become an erosion of skills.

If Reyes was sure to be a superstar from Day 1 in Dodger Blue, though, he would've cost Craig Kimbrel money. Instead, he's 1/6 of outfield addition David Peralta. He's a shot in the dark. He's a prospect enigma.

But, at this price, and at this destination, there's a steadily-rising shot he could be the steal of the offseason.