CARDINALS SIGN RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER GUILLERMO ZUNIGA
Former Dodgers Minor Leaguer Pitched Previous Two Seasons With Double-A Tulsa
SAN DIEGO, Calif., December 6, 2022 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they signed free agent right-handed pitcher Guillermo Zuniga to a Major League contract for the 2023 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Zuniga, 24, previously split his six-year minor league career between the Atlanta Braves (2016-17) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2018-22) organizations, most recently at Double-A Tulsa in 2022 where he ranked among Texas League leaders in games (48, 2nd) and saves (11, T-3rd).
The 6-foot-5, 230 lb. Colombia native was a combined 11-6 with a 4.10 ERA (90.0 IP) and 115 strikeouts over 73 relief appearances at Tulsa over the 2021-22 seasons. Over Zuniga’s career, the right-hander has appeared in 131 games (13 starts), recorded a 10.3 strikeout/9 IP ratio, and converted 20 saves.
The addition of Zuniga brings the Cardinals 40-player roster to 38 players.
— STL —
Zuniga is a depth signing. Typically this would be a minor league deal, but the Cardinals wanted to protect him from the Rule V draft; I don’t think he’d have been taken based off his numbers. The stuff is why they signed him and he could be in the bullpen at times in a 2022 Packy Naughton/James Naile role.
He’s a big framed pitcher (6’5″, 230) who is only 24; he won’t mature very much more. He throws a mid-90s fastball that touches 96-97 and has decent movement on it; he uses both a 2-seam and 4-seam. It’s considered slightly average due to velocity. He also has a slider with 1-7 movement; it sits in the low-70s to high-80s depending on the day. It’s his out pitch that tunnels his fastball (meaning the pitch has the same arm movement/slot as his fastball and hitters struggle to identify what he’s throwing). When he was starting, he also had a below average change that sat in the mid-80s; there was little movement and sat up in the zone too much. He struggles with control and command, but he could be a decent reliever if the Cardinals can fix him.
He’s nothing sexy, but he could definitely turn into something. The Cardinals have had success with this type of pitcher in the past, but wild relievers are hard to project and they struggle to have long term success.