After stepping into the role the end of June, the St. Louis Cardinals appear to have no immediate plans to remove the title of closer from Seung Hwan Oh heading into next season.
“He certainly earned it,” stated General Manager John Mozeliak at the end of season press conference on Wednesday.
“We’ll see how Spring Training, how everything looks but Seung Hwan Oh to me was such a great shot in the arm for our organization. We had no idea the need we were going to have for him.”
The 34-year old rookie, who is Korea’s all-time saves leader, showed his game translated well to MLB too–as Oh racked up 19 saves in the 39 appearances he made after Trevor Rosenthal was removed as the closer.
“We knew we were getting a good pitcher–we didn’t realize how good,” continued Matheny. “How he impressed us all season long with how he went about his business. He was just a positive impact in every way.”
As for Rosenthal, just set the franchise record for saves in 2015, he spent a month and a half on the disabled list with shoulder and forearm issues but looked strong upon making his return. However, that was not at the back end of the bullpen.
“We have to figure out that role first,” said Matheny on conversations with Trevor about the closer spot. “I found that just very blunt, straight-forward conversations of our evaluation and what we see and then take his information and his opinions as well, then try to give him a plan to move forward.”
“No question, he came up big for us in that last game that he threw. He opened a lot of eyes in the fact that he hadn’t thrown much and to be able to do what he did was impressive, but time will tell. See what the need of the organization is and then talk with Trevor at that point.”
Rosenthal allowed just two hits and struck out four batters in 3.0 innings of work in that final appearance–which raises the question if he could be in consideration to finally get that elusive chance at starting.
“Haven’t really given that much thought yet, but I imagine it’s something we’re going to talk about,” said Mozeliak.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI, Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports