Yesterday was the UCB trip to the ballpark where select members received the opportunity to have a brief Q&A session with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt III. My question for the team’s General Manager would have been when do the bullpen issues reach critical mass and require the team to start making moves? The answer? Today. Marc Rzepczynski will be headed to Memphis while Seth Maness should catch up with the big league club today. It was a surprise selection considering the struggles of the team’s setup guy and expected closer Mitchell Boggs.
Rzepczynski has allowed 16 baserunners in his 8 innings of work for a 7.88 ERA. He isn’t even doing his job as a lefty specialist, left handed hitters are teeing off of him with a .385 batting average.
Maness, 24, was an 11th round pick of the Cardinals in the 2011 draft. He has gained a reputation for being a control pitcher, walking just 18 batters in 248 minor league innings. Last season in Springfield he went 11-3 with a 2.97 ERA. This season in Memphis he has a 4.32 ERA to begin the season.
Maness was added to the 40 man roster for the move, which is now full. However, the team can still move Rafael Furcal to the 60-day DL to open up another roster spot.
With the signing of Choate, I was hoping that the would allow the team to be more aggressive with Rzepczynski who has disappointed after an excellent first month with the organization. But I can’t say I expected him to even be in the discussion for who ended up being optioned.
Per Jenifer Langosch, every Cardinal reliever has minor league options remaining except for Randy Choate. But Choate has consistently got his job done, unlike the rest of the bullpen. So because everyone still has options, why wasn’t it Boggs? Boggs has allowed 27 base runners in nearly 11 innings on the mound. He also sports a 12.66 ERA and has the most appearances out of the bullpen by any of the team’s relievers. Are they afraid a demotion might continue Boggs’ downward confidence spin?
Since manager Mike Matheny doesn’t utilize the lefty-lefty matchup as much as Tony La Russa did, I’m not as afraid of this move leaving him strategically empty handed. But in the end, Rzepczynski is not the worst pitcher in the bullpen so you have to think they are just getting started. A shot across the bow to the other guys struggling in the bullpen that their chance to get it right in St. Louis may be coming to an end?