Part of big trade, Walden set to make name for himself

Overlooked in deal that brought in Heyward, reliever excited to be part of Cards' organization

Part of big trade, Walden set to make name for himself

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though not the first name that folks reference when discussing the Cardinals' gain from a four-player trade with the Braves back in November, Jordan Walden likely won't continue to be overlooked. His stature, alone, ensures that.

Listed at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Walden made his first appearance at the Cardinals' spring complex on Thursday. He introduced himself to new teammates and played catch on one of the back fields before departing for the day.

"So far, so good," Walden said after learning his way around. "I'm just excited for the spring to start."

Outlook: Walden, RP, STL

Speaking to reporters for the first time since being traded, Walden said he anticipated the Braves dealing him somewhere as they initiated their rebuild. What he didn't expect was to land in St. Louis, though Walden added that he's thankful he did. Just a little more than a month after the trade, Walden signed a two-year contract with his new organization.

"I'm very happy to be here. The Cardinals are a very good organization," Walden said. "Wherever they want to put me, I'll be happy with that. I just want to help these guys win."

Walden is penciled in to be the club's right-handed setup man, a spot that needed to be filled after Pat Neshek's winter departure. Walden has fit in that role before and comes with some experience as a closer, making him the most likely reliever to cover the ninth inning on days when Trevor Rosenthal might be unavailable.

In an All-Star season with the Angels in 2011, Walden saved 32 games. He notched only five saves over the next three seasons, but posted a 3.24 ERA and a 1.221 WHIP while serving as a late-inning arm.

"He's power and he's versatile," manager Mike Matheny said. "I like the power. I like the deception. Our guys didn't necessarily enjoy facing him. That's usually a pretty good barometer."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.