According to multiple sources, including Ken Rosenthal and Katie Woo of The Athletic, the Cardinals have completed a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire veteran reliever Andrew Kittredge. Outfielder Richie Palacios is heading to Tampa in the deal.
Kittredge was limited to just 11 innings in 2023 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He posted a 3.09 ERA and a 3.43 FIP in just 14 games.
The Cardinals are likely banking on Kittredge returning to his 2021 performance, where he had a miniscule 1.88 ERA with a 3.04 FIP and produced 1.5 fWAR in 71 innings. That season, Kittredge’s chase rate was among the best in baseball. He generated a 27% K rate and only walked 5.3% of batters faced. Unfortunately, he was not able to replicate that in 2022. He had Tommy John surgery in early June of last season. That likely explains the dip in velocity and K’s he suffered that season.
Kittredge will be a free agent following the 2025 season. The Rays offered him arbitration and his estimated salary is $2.3M.
Richie Palacios was one of the bright spots on the club toward the end of the 2023 season. Palacios produced a 120 wRC+ (he was 20 points above average as a hitter), with a .258/.307/.516 line and 6 homers. That kind of power potential was not something he had shown during his minor league career. ZiPS believes his slug% will fall back to under .400 next season. However, he spent time at Driveline this winter to try to improve his exit velocity. He’s a versatile defender, who can play all three outfield spots and even second base in a pinch.
We will update this story if more information develops.