Former Cleveland reliever Nick Wittgren signs with Cardinals

Nick Wittgren #62 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Nick Wittgren #62 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Nick Wittgren
Nick Wittgren #62 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Reliever Nick Wittgren has found a new home in the National League with the Cardinals.

Nick Wittgren, who spent the last three seasons in Cleveland’s bullpen, has signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wittgren, 30, was due to make around $2.8 million in arbitration this offseason, so the Guardians waived him at the end of the year, with Wittgren choosing free agency. Though he was very serviceable over his first two seasons with the club, posting a 2.99 ERA and 156 ERA+ in 81 1/3 innings between 2019 and 2020, Wittgren had a tough 2021, finishing with a 5.05 ERA in 62 1/3 innings.

While St. Louis is bolstering their bullpen with Wittgren, the Guardians are still looking to do the same to theirs. Though it certainly helps to have a solidified closer in Emmanuel Clase – and likely an eighth-inning guy in Nick Sandlin, assuming he’s healthy – the rest of Cleveland’s bullpen is certainly in flux.

Much of the focus has been on improving the outfield and possibly first base – with good reason – but look for the Guardians to either sign a few veterans outright (hello, Bryan Shaw!) or sign more to minor-league deals with an invite to this abbreviated spring training.