I have to admit, I'm more than a little disappointed in this move.
Barton was one of my favorite players from last year's team, and I
think he would have been an excellent fit on this season's squad.
many times already this year have we seen the Cardinals hurting badly
for a right-handed bat who can play in the outfield, instead of handing
endless plate appearances to Rick Ankiel against lefty pitchers? It also means the Redbirds are without an aerospace engineer.
Barton possesses outstanding on-base skills, to the point that he maintained a very respectable OBP last year even when he was struggling to hit. He would be an ideal lead off man in this lineup, especially when facing a lefty on the mound. Somehow, though, the dude with the aerospace degree just seemed to fall out of favor with this brain trust. I don't get it, and I have to say, I don't much like it. Barton could have contributed to this team, yet he was never given the proper chance.
As for Blaine Boyer, well, he's given up six runs this year in 1.1 innings. Don't bother doing the math on that ERA; let's just say it isn't so good, and leave it at that. He wasn't much good last season, either; his ERA was a rather unpleasant 5.88. One has to wonder: just how much help is this guy going to be?
Now, I will say, there are some promising elements to Boyer's stat profile. He sported a 4.14 FIP last year, which is solid, if not exactly awe-inspiring. He struck out more than 20 percent of the batters he faced in 2008, while walking a hair over 8%. He's shown an ability to get ground balls, as well, which should certainly play well with this coaching staff. If Boyer can keep up those sorts of trends, he should have more success in the future than what he has in the recent past.
Still, I think Barton is a much better player than what he ever received credit for 'round these parts, and I just don't see how there was no room for him on this roster. While the whole Skip Schumaker to second saga has certainly provided plenty of fodder for people like myself, I still find myself wondering: how much better off would this team be if they had simply moved Skip for whatever they could get, installed Brian Barden and Joe Thurston as a tandem at second base, and kept Barton on the roster to hit against lefties? What is this team's fascination with carrying endless numbers of middle infielders? Ugh.
At any rate, good luck, Crabman. I still hate the Braves (those scars from 1996 run deep), but I may very well have to start rooting for them, even if only a little.
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