The last couple of years, 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 2014 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.
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Player: Keith Butler
Season stats: 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 2 games, 2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 3.500 WHIP, 16 ERA+
Overall grade: C
Positives: His second outing was much better than his first–he allowed just one run in that inning, though he did hit a batter….his arm didn’t actually fall off on the mound, though I think it came close.
Negatives: His first outing, he allowed five runs in one inning, coming into a game already out of hand and completely blowing it up….he then had to go have Tommy John surgery, meaning that ugly ERA wasn’t ever coming down.
Overview: It’s tough to be too down on Butler, since he did just have the limited time and then had to be cut open. Butler always seemed to be a guy that was on the fringe of a very good bullpen and, while he had youth and some heat on his side, it wouldn’t take much to bump him out of the Redbirds’ plans. There are a lot of good young arms in the system and not everyone can be at the big league level at the same time.
What was also strange about Butler this year, though it had really little to do with him, was the lengths the team seemed to go to not to put him on the 60-day DL. Even when it was the easiest thing to do, the Cardinals seemed to jump through hoops to keep him on the 40-man roster. Looking at it now, it seems St. Louis demoted Butler to Memphis and he was disabled there. Perhaps that had something to do with it? I wouldn’t think so, but baseball roster rules aren’t always easy to figure out.
Outlook: As Miranda pointed out over at Redbird Rants, since it took a while before Butler had the surgery, it’s fairly unlikely we’ll see him at the big league level next year. Maybe a September call-up, but even that’s pushing it. It wouldn’t be unheard of for St. Louis to release him this offseason if they need the room on the 40-man roster.