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Heavy Workloads Catching up with Rosenthal, Maness and Siegrist?

If the St. Louis Cardinals are going to reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year here in 2016, they are apparently going to have to do it without at least two of the three young relievers who have served as the core of the bullpen in recent seasons.

Trevor Rosenthal may or may not return this season, with multiple injuries (shoulder, flexor strain) that have him on the disabled list indefinitely. Fellow righty Seth Maness is undergoing UCL surgery this week.

While Kevin Siegrist is back from his own DL stint, he has experienced decreased velocity, fewer strikeouts and more home runs allowed compared to earlier in his career.

On Sunday, in his second consecutive day of work, the lefty was pulled from his appearance against the Cubs after just eight pitches due to what he called a dead arm. Siegrist was checked out and remains active. The 27-year-old did not pitch in the just-completed Houston series.

When Rosenthal lost his grip on the closer’s job, many thought set up man Siegrist would take over the role – and perhaps the Siegrist of old would have – but instead, Seung-hwan Oh did. In recent days, we have seen more of rookie Matt Bowman being used in the kind of high leverage situations in which Siegrist has traditionally thrived.

The home-grown trio have had many successes in the past. Here are but a few:


48 saves new team record (2015), 2nd in MLB.

278 strikeouts fifth most among MLB relievers (2013-15).


1st among MLB relievers in double plays induced with 39 from 2013-15.

15 wins from 2013-15, T4th in NL, T8th in MLB among relievers.


Lowest ERA by reliever in team history, minimum 35 IP (0.45 in 2013).

3rd among NL relievers with 90 strikeouts (2015).

Let’s look at the Cardinals’ reliance on the three – Rosenthal, Maness and Siegrist – in recent years in terms of workload.

2013-15 2015 2014 2013
Age Games Rank Games Rank Games Rank Games Rank
Rosenthal 26 214 9th MLB 68 T22nd NL 72 T13th NL 74 T12th NL
Maness 27 215 8th MLB 76 T5th NL 73 T9th NL 66 6th NL rookies
Siegrist 27 192 incl minors 81 1st MLB 37 out 2 mos 45 June debut
48 incl minors 63 incl minors

As you can see, both Rosenthal and Maness are in the top 10 of all MLB pitchers in game appearances over the last three full seasons.

Siegrist would have pushed to join them had he not come up midway through the 2013 season, then missed two months in 2014 with a forearm injury. After leading all of MLB in appearances in 2015, Siegrist allowed three home runs to Cubs’ left-handed batters in the NLDS, equal to his career total to that point.

Is this heavy workload a contributor to these young men’s injuries and reduced effectiveness? You be the judge.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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17 Responses to “Heavy Workloads Catching up with Rosenthal, Maness and Siegrist?”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    I like many things Mike says after games. He is well spoken.

    But it’s no secret that his handling of relief pitchers has been his biggest weakness as a manager. It’s been deplorable and it genuinely hurts the business. Why mo and Dewitt have allowed this to continue is baffling. Mike overuses about four relievers and underuses three.
    In 2012, Jason Motte collected every single save. Mad Mike was utterly unable to share a bit of the closer role. The next spring, Jason needed TJ surgery. Duh.
    Boggs lost confidence during the Mathemy reign.
    mujica was brilliant, but got burned out. If a reliever is good, Mike will abuse him. He can’t help it. Bernie calls it undisciplined and agree. The craving to win today at all costs blots out common sense prudence.
    Dewitt and Mo need to fix mikes flaw, because he is unable to.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    On the bright side, Maness is set for life. He has pitched long enough to qualify for a pension. And after rehabbing, he may pitch for years to come. It’s ok to overuse sinker all pitchers.

    We will see what happens with Rosenthal. I am unhopeful. Power pitchers should not pitch on consecutive days. At least heis making great money this year.

    The abuse of Siegrist has been nauseating and imbecilic. Mo should be ashamed for allowing the abuse of Rosenthal and Siegrist. If this were done by a minor league manger, he would be fired.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Don’t feel the same way about the overuse of Molina. Yadier is getting paid tremendous money. If he prefers to work for it, instead of parked on the bench, this is his choice. it’s honorable. This is between Mike and Yadier. This is a very different situation from overusing and injuring relief pitchers.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I’ve never met a player that did not want to play every day.

      The reason you have someone in charge is to make the tough decisions.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Molina is a very unusual guy. He thrives on play. He has been improving at the stick despite incessant use. If he was slumping, I’d rest him. Since he is not, it’s up to him. Personally, I would rest him more, but I would be flexible.

        The cards have learned to protect newly signed bonus baby pitchers. Good pitchers deserve to be protected. I don’t understand why terrific ml relievers cannot be used more judiciously.

        Mo should hire some kid and have him decide which relievers to use. He would phone down orders to the dugout. Mike could act like he was making the decisions, but behind the scenes, the decider would be the kid. Because a American kid who follows orders would do a better job than Mike, handling pitchers.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          If the kid hired to tell Mike which pitcher to use does a lousy job, fire the kid and try a new one. Try a chimpanzee. Anybody given some rules to follow about the use of pitchers could do a better job than Mike. People who have never even seen a ballgame before could do a better job.
          Maybe Mo is blind to it because he hired the guy. Mikes use of the bullpen is insane and a disgrace.
          Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.
          Mike had concussions when a player. Something is just not right up in his noggin in relation to relievers.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            This problem hurts the team in a variety of ways. It has to be well known among players. Players want to win the series. Are free agents going to sign with the cards knowing Mike is a terrible manager of relievers? We had to lure a guy from South Korea, because he did not know Mike is Mad. Soon we are going to need to recruit on other planets, because the word is getting around Earth.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              This is a problem that more reporters should discuss. Brian is to be saluted for having the backbone to raise it.
              Mo and Mike have had five years already to get Mike up to speed.
              How damn long do we have to suffer inept and callous management of relief pitchers?

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Enough complaints. I have a solution. We pay Mathemy an extra million a year to delegate pitching changes to a chimp. When the chimp feels obliged to make a pitching change, he will head out to the mound and wave his hairy arms to signify righty or lefty. This would be an imorovement and a bargain at only 1 million bucks.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Jumbo, it is great to have passion and all, but I really think you should move on from this subject.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Agreed I needed to take a break from mikes use of relievers.
        he overused Motte, Edward Mujica, could not save Mitchell Boggs, fried Walden within a few weeks, over relied on Rosenthal and Siegrist. Now he is after Oh.
        happily mujica still scored a big contract from the Red Sox, walden has been collecting big checks. Rosenthal reached big bucks in 2016 and has boras on his side to protect him from Mike. I don’t think Mike deserves responsibility for Boggs. Siegrist is still active, despite feelings of a dead arm. Reyes and Duke are big helps.
        Last night, Mike allowed himself to try Tuivailala down two runs. Then he praised him. Mike seems to be trying to boost the confidence of both of them. If Tui grew to be reliable and could eat three innings per week, this can take pressure off others. We have 8 relievers, so spread out the work.

  5. crdswmn says:

    The answer to your last question is yes.

    I also agree with your stance on Molina, FWIW.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    I don’t love having to give Mike credit, but his unsound moves on Friday did work.
    I don’t like using the closer for two innings.
    I don’t like using him when we are tied.
    But this time, Mike ended up with a win and he did not need Oh the next two games.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    There was some article recently on how Mike gets information to help protect the health of relievers.
    Sometimes I think the cards follow what Brian or I post, to keep track of the fan base.
    It’s about time the cards help Mike figure out how to use relievers. Just because the guy was a catcher, we cannot assume he knows how to handle relievers. He was horrible left to his own devices.
    If the team gives Mike the information and decisional rules to follow, he can be an excellent manager.

  8. JumboShrimp says:

    Good to send down Tuivailala. He is a lot like Rosenthal, converted position player. It’s his responsibility to get it together. For he can’t, back to Beale street.

  9. Brian Walton says:

    Seung-hwan Oh is on pace to pitch in 82 games this season. As noted above, Siegrist led MLB last year with 81.

  10. JumboShrimp says:

    The cards may have gotten lucky with Rosenthal’s arm and shoulder feeling better. If Trevor can be effective in 2017, it will be helpful for the staff as a whole.

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