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: Peter Bourjos
Season stats: 119 games, 294 PA, 32 R, 9 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 9 SB, 20 BB, 78 K, .231/.294/.348 79 OPS+
Hero/Goat: Hero 5, Goat 6
Overall grade: C
Positives: Bourjos played the defense that we’d come to expect, gaining much of his WAR value from that aspect of his game….hit a game-tying home run off of Clayton Kershaw in a July game….hit righties at a .255 clip, though three of his four homers came off lefties….increased his OPS by 70 points in the second half, though he played half as often.
Negatives: Started the season in a terrible funk, posting a .510 OPS in April….he came off the bench in 54 of his games, totaling just 48 plate appearances in those games….could have been pictured on St. Louis milk cartons, only starting five of the team’s last 15 regular season games.
Overview: It was a perfect storm of suck for Bourjos this season. He got off to the slow start, possibly due to the wrist surgery he’d had in the offseason, perhaps due to changing leagues, and seemed to work his way into Matheny’s doghouse. Then, when he might have been able to get some good playing time, Jon Jay took off and make it difficult to get Bourjos regularly in the lineup. Even the Allen Craig trade didn’t help, as first Oscar Taveras then Randal Grichuk kept Jay from sliding over to right.
Bourjos has his ardent defenders (hi Ben and Marilyn!) and while sometimes Jay gets a little short shrift for what he did this season, especially while no one else was doing it, the case for Bourjos being neglected is strong as well. There’s no doubt he should have been playing more in the postseason, especially as Grichuk struggled. In low-scoring games, you’d think you’d want your best defense out there and Bourjos definitely was part of that. The use of Bourjos this season was pretty egregious at times, though to be fair the crowded outfield would have taxed many a manager, much less Matheny.
Outlook: With Jay publicly touted as the center fielder for 2015, it would seem Bourjos would have to move on. As great as it would be to have him as an insurance policy, he’s too good to sit on the bench and play an inning every couple of days. It’s possible that Mozeliak will say one thing publicly and another when the GMs start talking to him, but right now I’d guess that Bourjos will have his third uniform in three years when Opening Day comes around next season.