How to Ruin a Roster Without Even Trying


John Mozeliak, left, and Tony LaRussa celebrate their latest brilliant maneuver.
  • John Mozeliak, left, and Tony LaRussa celebrate their latest brilliant maneuver.
​Cardinal management has really outdone themselves this time. I've actually been pleasantly surprised by the job Tony La Russa and Company have done managing the 2011 team to this point, but this is just mind-numbingly stupid. 

Today, the Cardinals reactivated Skip Schumaker from the disabled list. Not a surprise there, of course; regardless of how poorly Schumaker plays he's one of Tony's favorite strays and will have a home. The corresponding move to make room for Skippy was to subtract a pitcher. Again, not a surprise. In fact, I honestly considered a column this morning blasting the Cards for carrying thirteen relievers during the KC series. There's virtually never a good reason to have that many pitchers, particularly when you can't find enough work to go around because your starters have been brilliant. 

No, the move that we should all be shaking our heads and muttering over is which pitcher the Cardinals chose to send down. They sent down Mitchell Boggs

That's right. The Cardinals just sent one of their three best relievers to Memphis in order to make room for one of the worst players in baseball, all the while protecting two veteran relievers who have absolutely no business being on the roster. 

Under no circumstances does this make any sense whatsoever. I'm sure the explanation will be something along the lines of, "Well, Boggs needs to get more work in, and he was one of the few guys we could send down because he has options still." 

Here's the problem with that: the Cards are still running Miguel Batista out to the mound, with his 1.11 K/BB ratio and 1.78 WHIP. Yep, he basically walks a batter for every one he strikes out and allows close to two baserunners for every inning he works. And he just has to be on the team. 

Or how about Ryan Franklin? Veteran closerness or whatever bullshit LaRussa and Dave Duncan want to cook up aside, Franklin is currently sporting a 9.20 ERA, an equal number of strikeouts and walks, and is allowing almost two baserunners per inning. (1.98 WHIP) Ryan Franklin has been one of the worst pitchers in all of baseball this year. And he has a permanent spot on a contending team because of the abject stupidity and inability to recognise reality of the team's management. 

Mitchell Boggs, on the other hand, has been remarkably good in 2011. His strikeout to walk ratio is 4.75(!), his FIP is 3.06, and he's giving up barely better than one baserunner per inning. (1.07 WHIP) That's right, Boggs gives up just a little more than half as many baseunners as Ryan Franklin does, and his reward for turning into a shutdown reliever is a trip back to the minors while the big club piddles around with broken veterans whose only notable quality is the fact they were good sometime in the distant past. (Or, in the case of Skip Schumaker, his most notable quality is that he's never been good, but someone had a brilliant idea for an experiment a couple years back that might create the illusion he was good and is too arrogant and stubborn to admit it was an abject failure.) 

Of course, I'm sure the argument for keeping Franklin and Batista around is that the club can send Boggs down to the minors without a problem, while either of those other two would have to designated for assignment, meaning there's a fair chance they could just be gone entirely. The thing is, that's absolutely true. In order to get either Franklin or Batista off the roster the Cardinals would have to DFA them, then expose them to waivers. Two other thoughts immediately spring to mind, though: one, what team in their right mind is honestly going to want to pick up either of them, and two, neither one is worth keeping anyway. Most teams seem at least somewhat interested in making themselves better. Getting better does not go hand-in-hand with picking up trash heap veteran relievers who can't get anyone out. 

The Cardinals managed to make this team significantly worse today, and how ownership continues to let this farce go on is beyond me. Schumaker is one of the worst infielders in baseball. Ryan Franklin and Miguel Batista are two of the worst relievers in baseball. All three of them have a place on this team, though, because of some mysterious quality they possess which makes them immune to the consequences of being terrible. Congratulations to all three on finding the magic formula for keeping a job while far better players are shipped out to make room for more dead weight. 

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