Exit Interview: Fernando Salas

Last year, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season.  This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2013 offseason.  More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter.  Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.

This year’s Exit Interview series is brought to you by Bonfyre.  A large number of the United Cardinal Bloggers used Bonfyre all season long and found it a great way to interact and discuss things in a limited audience.  No need to worry about some pseudo-fan crashing your Facebook conversation or trying to explain fine points in 140 characters on Twitter. Invite who you want to the group and get to talking.  Share pictures as well–Bonfyre is a great way to document parties or other events, especially for folks that can’t be there.  Sign up today and give it a try.

Name: Fernando Salas

Season stats: 0-3, 4.50 ERA, 27 games, 28.0 IP, 27 H, 6 BB, 22 K, 1.18 WHIP

Hero/Goat: Goat 1

Overall grade: C

Positives: Salas was pretty effective on right-handed batters, limiting them to a .645 OPS on the season.  He was also better at Busch Stadium, though all three home runs he allowed did come at his home park.  He had a terrible July, but other than that was a fairly reliable, nothing spectacular arm and was really effective in low-leverage innings.

Negatives: All that would be well and good if this was some filler arm that the Cards had picked up.  Given Salas’s past history, especially in 2011, you’d expect a little more out of him.  In the 29 plate appearances designated high-leverage, batters put up an OPS of 1.029 against him, meaning that you couldn’t trust him at all with the game even possibly on the line.  Without comparing this to other pitchers for context, here’s a seemingly mindboggling split–balls in the infield, .154 OPS; balls to the outfield, 1.145 OPS.  I expect most pitchers have a similar disparity, but I have a feeling it’s not that widespread.

Outlook: Salas is a nontender candidate this offseason and it’s pretty easy to see why.  The only thing going for him is his relatively low salary, but with all the various arms the Cards have in their organization, someone else could probably come along and do his job better if necessary.  I think he might still have one option year left–if so, expect him to do the Memphis/St. Louis trek a few times next year if he stays in the system. [EDIT: As we now know, Salas will be plying his trade with the Angels as part of the David Freese trade.]

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