JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Ryan Franklin was 1 of the major leagues' best closers last year, even factoring in an awful final month. The St. Louis Cardinals have faith in a pitcher who'll be 37 next month and isn't a strikeout machine, yet they'll also try to develop a backup option this spring.
Franklin, a first-time All-Star last year whose ERA hovered around 1 until early September, welcomes the help. He called it a "good idea" and said he just wanted to be part of a winning team.
Among the potential fill-ins are Jason Motte, who began last year as the closer, and Mitchell Boggs. Both throw in the high 90s, more of a typical closer template than Franklin.
Even with three blown saves in six September chances, Franklin was 38 for 43 with a run of 13 straight ending in early September, and a still very impressive 1.92 ERA overall.