Exit Interview: Jason Motte

2014 Major League Stats: 4.68 ERA, 29 G, 25.0 IP, 1.52 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 0.00 ERA, 7 G, 7.2 IP, 0.52 WHIP
2015 Role: Reliever in the Major Leagues

It wasn’t exactly a storybook ending for Jason Motte in St. Louis. Before the 2013 season, Motte signed a 2 year, $12 million deal with St. Louis. He would end up having Tommy John surgery during Spring Training and didn’t throw a single pitch during the 2013 season. In the mean time he launched the “K Cancer” movement that has gained a number of followers around the Cardinals and now even Major League Baseball this season. He returned this year, struggling to find the velocity that had made him one of baseball’s most feared late inning relievers in 2011 and 2012.

As the season went along he began being used less and less because he couldn’t get that velocity back. It did start coming back as the season progressed a little bit and he finished up September well, including a 1-2-3 inning in what may be his final inning as a Cardinal in St. Louis. It was fitting and if that was really the end, I’m glad it ended that way. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Greg Garcia

2014 Major League Stats: .143/.333/.214, 0 HR, 1 RBI in 14 games
2014 Minor League Stats: .275/.358/.385, 8 HR, 41 RBI in 110 games in AA/AAA
2015 Role: Infielder for Triple-A Memphis

Greg Garcia didn’t have quite the season I expected for him in a second season with Memphis. Personally, I was hoping he would find his way to St. Louis last offseason, replacing Daniel Descalso off the bench. My hopes remain the same for this season, but with Mozeliak’s designs to bring back all his arbitration eligible players next year, the odds are looking slim. He did get a little bit of an opportunity with St. Louis, coming up two different times. I like to note that he was hit by pitch in walk off fashion on May 13th and then optioned to Memphis after the game. Upon his return on August 19th, we also won that game on a walk off hit by pitch, but not Garcia this time. [click to continue…]

Should Jon Jay be the Cardinals CF?

Let me preface this post saying that I am a massive Jon Jay fan. If you asked me who my favorite Cardinal on the current roster was, it’s unanimously Jon Jay. With Allen Craig playing for the Red Sox now, he doesn’t even have a threat. I don’t even have to think about it. But I think it’s time for the Cardinals to trade Jon Jay while they can because his 2014 performance will not be duplicated. Here’s why.

When you look at the season long numbers, Jay returned to his consistency this season. Hit .303, posted a 109 OPS+, and was plus defensively. Among center fielders who played as much as he did, Jon Jay was a top-5 defensive outfielder this season. But when you look under the hood, perhaps you see something that we all said about 2013’s batting average with runners in scoring position.

Jon Jay played 749 innings in center field this season and posted a +5 defensive runs saved and a UZR/150 of 12.8. For Jay, that defensive runs saved number was roughly on par with his 2011 season, but that UZR/150 was far and away his best defensive showing of his career. His next highest season was a 4.7 in 2012. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Eric Fornataro

2014 Major League Stats: 4.66 ERA, 8 G, 9.2 IP, 1.24 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 2.57 ERA, 44 G, 56 IP, 1.18 WHIP in AAA
2015 Role: Reliever for Triple-A Memphis

Eric Fornataro had two cups of coffee in St. Louis this season, making his Major League debut on April 21st against the New York Mets, pitching a perfect 1-2-3 inning of relief work. He would go on to pitch two more before he started regularly putting guys on base and that led to his demotion in mid-May. His return in June against the Dodgers didn’t go well either.

After being returned to Memphis in July, he finished up his 2014 campaign strong with a 2.12 ERA over his final 34 innings of work. Despite that strong finish and already being on the 40 man roster, Fornataro was not brought to St. Louis to finish out the year with the big league club. It was a move that raised my eyebrow seeing as we only had a couple of pitchers in the bullpen at that point who I felt were solid enough to warrant regular roles. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Joey Butler

2014 Major League Stats: 0-for-5, 1 BB, 6 G
2014 Minor League Stats: .360/.481/.547, 4 HR, 20 RBI in 31 G in AAA
2015 Role: Playing in Japan or for a Triple-A team

When the Cardinals acquired Joey Butler last October, I pointed him out as a solid platoon outfielder for Jon Jay in center field. That seemed like a good option until the Cardinals acquired Peter Bourjos to do the exact same thing the very next month. The right handed Butler has some holes in his swing against right handed pitching, but his left handed pitching really well. So after a great start in Memphis, he got a brief stint with the Cardinals’ big league club. He went hitless in six plate appearances before the club elected to sell his contract to the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.

Butler had moderate success in Japan, hitting .231/.379/.385 with 2 homers and 6 RBI in 21 games on an Orix team that featured fellow former Cardinal Brandon Dickson. After two stops in the big leagues, his options seem slim. He could probably return to Japan for another season or try to hook on with another Triple-A team here in the US, but he will be 29 at the beginning of next season. You don’t see 29 year old minor leaguers suddenly becoming MLB caliber players.