“Better get there quick, Big Boy.”
That quote has circled the blogosphere this week after St. Louis Cardinal General Manager John Mozeliak responded with those words after Josh Gilliam, of the great site Pitchers Hit Eighth, asked about seeing Carlos Martinez in Springfield. Less than a week later, Martinez is on his way to Milwaukee to join the major league squad as struggling reliever Mitchell Boggs heads to Triple-A to join Memphis.
Boggs was in line to be the Cardinals’ eighth inning man going into the season when closer Jason Motte revealed an injury. The easiest resolution to that, in manager Mike Matheny‘s mind, was to move everyone in the bullpen up a role and Boggs was thrust into the closer position. His reaction was less than satisfactory and suddenly the bullpen, once thought to be a strength of the team, was in turmoil. It seemed everyone was struggling and Boggs was, quite possibly, at the head of it all.
Mozeliak moved quickly in response, sending Marc Rzepczynski to the minor leagues and adding Seth Maness both to the major league and the 40-man roster. The bullpen needed to be settled and Mozeliak aimed to do so quickly. Edward Mujica found patience and settled the ninth inning going forward. Trevor Rosenthal, while still not being perfect, has seemed to find a bit of a foothold.
Boggs, however, continued to struggle. He would show moments of steadiness followed by loss of command and concentration. He has shown improvement, but not enough to warrant a continued spot on the roster. Memphis will provide a place to step away from the focus and the bright lights of major league baseball while Boggs tries to discover his former command and potential.
Martinez, meanwhile, has shown progress throughout a season that started a little late this season. Due to some visa issues early on, Martinez was very late arriving to a spring training that might have led to his arrival in St. Louis on opening day. Due to the late start, Martinez found himself in Springfield to start the season. In three starts, the most recent of which was on April 29, Martinez has increasingly gone further and been more effective. Over the course of just over 11 innings this season, he has surrendered 11 hits and one walk. Conversely, he has struck out nine hitters and held opponents to just three runs. He is not the most impressive of Cardinal minor league hurlers, but he shows enough promise to deserve the promotion.
The hard throwing right-hander arrives in St. Louis as a part of the bullpen solution. His next challenges will surface as he is used more frequently and in higher pressure situations. How he responds to that challenge will reveal his longevity at this level.
The future has arrived in St. Louis. How bright it shines is about to become apparent.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
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