Right-handed reliever Keynan Middleton, who pitched well over 12 games late in the 2023 season with the Yankees, agreed to a one-year contract with the Cardinals, the club announced on Saturday.
Middleton’s contract with the Cardinals is guaranteed for one year and $6 million, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. There is a club option for the 2025 season that could make the deal worth $11 million total. The buyout for the 2025 season is $1 million.
Middleton, 30, struck out 17 batters in 14 1/3 innings and compiled a 1.88 ERA with the Yankees late last season. New York acquired the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder from the White Sox last July prior to the Trade Deadline.
In 51 games with the White Sox and Yankees last season, Middleton was 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA and two saves. In 50 2/3 innings, he compiled 64 strikeouts, and he fills the Cardinals' need for more swing-and-miss stuff out of their bullpen.
Middleton will compete to be a part of a remade Cardinals bullpen that will include newcomers Andrew Kittredge, Nick Robertson, Riley O’Brien and Ryan Fernandez. All of them are hard-throwing right-handers who specialize in strikeouts. They will help comprise a new-look bullpen that also includes closer Ryan Helsley, Giovanny Gallegos, JoJo Romero and Andre Pallante.
Converted starters Zack Thompson and Matthew Liberatore could also pitch out of the bullpen after the Cardinals added three starters to their rotation this offseason. The Redbirds signed veteran right-handers Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson to join Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz in the starting rotation.