The Cardinals pitching staff, in my opinion, needs to be optimized a little while we make our run towards the post season (hopefully as division champs, though we’ve made the wild card work before.) Here are a few ideas I’ve had.
Caveat: Part of this depends on Wacha not returning, if he does, Carlos stays in the bullpen
1) Move Justin Masterson to the bullpen. Justin is struggling as a starter, and we can’t afford to give him time to figure things out. Maybe if this were early in the season we could, but not now. With a bullpen role, he’d be able to focus on just tossing his sinker and producing groundballs, which would fit in with our defense. His demotion would create another chance for…
2) Move Carlos Martinez to the rotation. I know Carlos struggled a bit last time through, but frankly I’d rather have him in the rotation right now than Masterson. I think Carlos’ future is as a starter any way, so the more reps he gets in that role as the Major League level, the better.
3) Move Trevor Rosenthal to the setup role. Trevor is struggling as the closer. Even when he gets saves, he still makes them adventures like last night when he gave up a solo homer to to Andrew McCutchen before getting the job done. Of course his demotion creates an opportunity for someone else.
b) Closer possibilty #2: Seth Maness. Maness is having a solid season, with a 2.74 ERA in 65 innings and the best groundball/flyball ratio on the team, meaning he’ll keep the ball on the ground. He also has good control, only allowing 10 walks, less than a third of the 36 Trevor has given up, and in five more innings to boot.
c) Closer possibility #3: Carlos Martinez: He’s the riskiest choice, as he has struggled a bit this year, but if Wacha returns, he’ll stay in the bullpen (he might anyway). Carlos has He has good stuff even though he’s struggled, and being the closer would allow him to focus on using his power sinker. I think he has more potential as a starter however, even if he did struggle in that role this year. He has five pitches, relying primarily on his two seamer, sinker and slider. He mixes in a change and tosses in a cutter every now and then. He should refine that cutter and mix it more, to give hitters more to look at.
Those are my suggestions. As always, take them with a grain of salt. 😉
Thanks for reading