ST. LOUIS–The Cardinals appear to have cornered the market on what could be a bit of fun trivia down the road. Question: Who was the first Major League free agent to sign after the end of the 2021-2022 lockout?

Answer: Righthanded pitcher Drew VerHagen, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals Friday to a two-year contract for

“We have been following Drew for the past two seasons in Japan while playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters,” said Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak in a news release. “We believe he will compete for a starting job, but could easily transition to the bullpen if needed. We are excited to have Drew join our organization.”

While the St. Louis rotation already looks fairly set, with Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson, and Miles Mikolas, Mozeliak told reporters last night that the team could use a ‘piggy-back’ approach, using multiple pitchers stretched out as starters as a way to get innings covered while also covering for the fact that Mikolas, Hudson and Flaherty are each coming off an injury in 2021, on top of the reduced innings in 2020’s COVID-impacted season.