Jason Motte’s season-ending elbow injury was not the only setback faced by the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen corps during 2013. Fortunately, replacements were not far away in Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist and Carlos Martinez.
In April, struggling lefty Marc Rzepczynski was sent down to Memphis and later traded to Cleveland. Control specialist and reigning system Minor League Pitcher of the Year Maness was added to the 40-man roster and was promoted to St. Louis to replace him.
Maness never returned to the minors, ending up second on the team with 66 appearances. Often called upon in tough spots, Maness delivered. The right-hander induced 16 double plays, first among National League relievers. He ranked third in the NL with 58 inherited runners and second with a 12.1 percent inherited runners scored mark.
Struggling mightily in relief with an ERA of 12.66, set up man and short-time closer Mitchell Boggs was optioned to Memphis on May 3. After six Triple-A outings, he was back with St. Louis, but more bad results ensued. Boggs was shipped out again by the end of the month and was soon dealt to Colorado.
Highly-touted Martinez was promoted from Memphis to replace Boggs. The hard-throwing right-hander spent 3 ½ weeks in St. Louis’ pen before being returned to Triple-A.
Martinez was up and down, moving back and forth between relieving in St. Louis and starting with Memphis. The 21-year-old returned to the Cardinals for a fourth and final time on August 23rd, when ineffective veteran Jake Westbrook was shuffled off to the disabled list.
Though there were a few bumps along the way, by the post-season, Martinez became arguably the second-most important reliever on the team. He took over Trevor Rosenthal’s eighth-inning role when the latter graduated to closing.
In October, Martinez pitched 12 2/3 innings over 12 post-season contests. The right-hander fanned 11 and walked three. He yielded five earned runs on seven hits.
While right-hander Maness was the corresponding roster transaction to Scrabble’s initial departure, the club wanted and needed a second left-hander in the pen. On June 6, Kevin Siegrist received the call from Double-A, and like Maness, never returned to the minors.
Siegrist made an immediate impact with St. Louis. The left-hander posted a team record 12 scoreless appearances to open his career and had 43 in 45 outings overall during his rookie year. Siegrist’s strikeout rate of 11.34 per nine innings was second among Cardinals.
With these three and likely several others who do not make the rotation out of spring training, St. Louis’ 2014 relief corps should be as potent as it is young.