For the fifth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
This year’s Exit Interview series is “being brought to you by” some of the various Cardinal podcasts that are out there for your listening pleasure. Our focus this time is Two Birds on a Bat. One of the more recent shows I’ve found, these guys are a bit of a throwback, just three guys talking about the game (though with a professional-sounding show). Plus they regularly have Bengie Molina weighing in. Find them on iTunes or check out their site!
Player: Seth Maness
Season stats: 2-2, 3.41 ERA, 29 games, 31.2 IP, 34 H, 8 BB, 16 K, 1.326 WHIP, 3.72 FIP, 0.3 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 1
Overall grade: C+
Positives: Posted a 1.42 ERA after he returned from his first stint on the disabled list….allowed just a .210 average under the Arch….allowed a .159 BAA in the second half….had a 0.87 ERA in July, the month he pitched the most innings….when batters swung at the first pitch, they hit .176/.194/.235….with two outs, he allowed just a .514 OPS….with one day of rest, had a 1.35 ERA and a .555 OPS against….had a 2.86 ERA and a .229 BAA at night.
Negatives: Struggled to start the season, with a 6.48 ERA in April….only induced four double plays, a far cry from his heights….if batters laid off the first offering, they hit .311/.361/.489….the first batter against him had an .846 OPS….batters hit .295 with nobody out and .333 with one out….runners had a .385/.469/.538 line when runners were in scoring position….they also hit .357 against him in tie game situations….only had 24 plate appearances that weren’t low leverage….had a 13.50 ERA on zero days’ rest (three games)….had a 4.66 ERA in day games.
Overview: You wonder how things would have been different, both for Maness and the team, if he’d let them know he was hurting much earlier than when he was being demoted to the minors in mid-May. Maness had been hurting for quite some time but never told the team, who then found a slight tear in the UCL. Rest and rehab brought Maness back to the majors in a little over a month, but his season–both this year and 2017–ended in August when Tommy John surgery could be avoided no longer. When he was healthy–well, healthier–he looked more like the bullpen weapon that the Cardinals had gotten used to. I mean, he didn’t come in and immediately get two outs on one pitch, but he was at least a reliable option out of the pen.
Outlook: With the Tommy John surgery, 2017 is probably a write-off as well. He could, in theory, be back by next August or September (most likely the latter with the expanded rosters), but it seems a stretch to think that he’s going to contribute a lot to that squad. Maness is arbitration eligible this offseason, but given the comments Davis Ward had in regards to TJ and the Cardinals, it seems likely they’ll try to sign him to a small contract and let him rehab with the hopes that he can make the comeback. The only issue is that, until you can place players on the 60-day, he does take up a 40-man roster spot, but I think there are enough options to clear room that it shouldn’t be a major problem.