This season didn’t go like most seasons. The Cardinals were terrible. I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary. However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series! Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals. We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same. As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!
Player: Jacob Barnes
Stats: 0-1, 13 G, 13.2 IP, 18 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 8 K, 5.93 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 1.537 WHIP, -0.2 bWAR
Statcast: 6.1% barrel, 28.6% sweet spot, 111.3 max exit velocity, .360 wOBA, .305 xwOBA, 13.1% K, 4.9% BB
It was a weird thing to see the Cardinals scavenging on the waiver wire in the days leading up to the trading deadline. Sure, bringing in a lesser known pitcher and hoping for the bounce was something we’ve seen at the last deadlines–J.A. Happ and Jon Lester come to mind–but it’s usually players that are still actively playing, not ones that have been cut just recently. This year, though, the club had to go a step below that normal bare-bones approach to find pitchers that could cover the innings necessary to get to the end of the season.
Barnes was one of those guys. Since starting his career in Milwaukee and spending his first few seasons there, he’s gone from Kansas City to the Angels to the Mets to Toronto to Detroit to Seattle back to Detroit to the Yankees to Texas to Philadelphia to, finally, St. Louis. That’s 10 organizations (and one twice) since August of 2019. Barnes doesn’t even rent a place these day. He stays in the hotel and leaves his bags packed. He doesn’t buy green bananas, if you know what I mean. He’s a travelin’ man, made a lot of stops, all over the league.
You wonder if, in the normal course of events, if Barnes would have ever made it to St. Louis. It’s possible that some winter they might have signed him to be some sort of AAA depth and a guy that could come up for a spot start and then easily be discarded from the 40-man should the need arise. It’s also very possible he’d have never worn the birds on the bat. However, when the entire pitching staff is a shambles and you are about to deal off some of your innings eaters, beggars can’t really be choosers.
For his part, Barnes did fine. The ERA-FIP difference shows a little of the bad luck he had. In his last eight appearances he had a 2.08 ERA and struck out seven batters in 8.2 innings, though he allowed two unearned runs in his last outing. Again, it wasn’t anything to write home about and it wasn’t likely to save him from another trip to the waiver wire this winter, but it wasn’t nothing either. It was probably enough to earn him an opportunity to play for his 11th organization since 2019.
What’s in store for 2024: Barnes, who elected free agency, will sign a minor league contract with someone, get an opportunity mid-summer to get in another major league uniform, and then throw about 20 innings for that club that probably will be slightly below league average. It’s a living.