Sending down Mitchell Boggs is a mistake

The Cardinals made a few roster moves today.  The first was calling up catcher Tony Cruz as Gerald Laird heads to the DL.  Skip Schumaker returns from the DL and will play 2B and hit 7th.  Then there’s the move of sending down Mitchell Boggs.  All I can say is that I knew it would be a young guy, because it would be unthinkable for Tony LaRussa to get rid of one of his veterans that are stinking up the ballpark, as both Miguel Batista and Ryan Franklin are doing.  The Cardinals bullpen just got a lot weaker, and now the pressure is on Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez even more.

I mean, after all, Mitchell Boggs did blow a save.  After blowing that save, he wasn’t given another opportunity to close a game.  Like I said before, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal if Ryan Franklin hadn’t set up the fear factor for all Cardinal fans in the late innings.  Franklin blew 4 of 5 to start the year, and has been pounded in every game he’s been in.  Yes, even this weekend in KC when he got a 1-2-3 inning, two of the outs were line drives right at the shortstop and the left fielder.  However, because Tony LaRussa is the last man on earth to think that Ryan Franklin can turn it around, Mitchell Boggs is back in the minors.  The thing that makes it difficult for me is that there is no upside to seeing if Ryan Franklin can turn it around.  He’s 38, has a career 5.0 SO/9, and in 2011 that number has dropped to 3.1.  Batista is 40, and has a career 5.8 SO/9.  There’s no point in having two pitchers that have no upside, can’t get a swing and miss, are at the end of their careers, and ship out the third best reliever in the bullpen.

Tony LaRussa has to make sure that everyone knows this is his team though.  He has to put his stamp on it and show blind faith in veteran players, especially when they’re down.  So, let’s take a look at the numbers so we can all nod in agreement on why the move was made.  It has to be in here somewhere.

Pitcher                 IP            ERA        WHIP     SO

Franklin                 14.2          9.20          1.97        5

Batista                    16.1          2.76           1.77        10

Boggs                      19.2          3.66          1.06        19

Batista’s 2.76 ERA is the most misleading I’ve ever seen.  His WHIP tells the real story.  There’s also the eye test, which tells us that both Franklin and Batista are getting balls centered and pounded.  There’s just no place for either of them on this team.  If one was kept on, it could be understood.  Keeping both on the roster at the expense of an up and coming pitcher like Boggs is borderline crazy though.

There are a few explanations besides the obvious veteran presence here, but I’m not buying any of them.  The Cardinals are saying that Mitchell Boggs is going to be a starter in the minors right now.  Well, that would be nice if the Cardinals had the luxury of power arms throughout the bullpen and could spare him for now.  Another possibility is that the Cardinals are trying to maximize Boggs value in a trade.  That doesn’t fly either, because what he does with the big club is going to weigh more than what he can do in AAA Memphis.  So, the only reasonable conclusion I can come up with is he’s in Tony’s doghouse.  We’ll see shortly I suppose.  Let’s just hope that the Cardinals starters can go deep into games, and when Franklin does get into a game, he can pitch with the same luck he’s always enjoyed, which is a hard hit ball right to someone.

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