(Busch Stadium) The walk appeared to be slower than normal for Jonathan Broxton as he exited the field after allowing 2-runs in the 9th inning last night. Clearly frustrated by his outing, it appeared the weight of the world sat on the shoulders of the St. Louis Cardinals reliever. Maybe he had an idea of the decision made today.
“We’re going to release Broxton and bring up Gant,” announced General Manager John Mozeliak. “Obviously, any time you have to release a player it’s disappointing. Especially someone that is a good teammate, well-liked, well-respected and so that’s certainly unfortunate. But I sit here a couple of times a week with you guys and we talk about performance and having the ability to do what you’re supposed to do–and it just wasn’t working.
In 20 relief appearances this season, Broxton was 0-1 with a 6.89 ERA and allowed 3 of 7 inherited runners to score.
“The other part of this move is to also create some flexibility for that bullpen,” continued Mozeliak. “When you had guys signed to multi-year contracts, guys with no options, just the flexibility in what we were trying accomplish was very difficult. Now all of a sudden, we’ve changed the look of the bullpen and most importantly, it’s got to be effective. So we’ll see how some of these younger guys with their opportunity, what they can do with it.”
The Cardinals are in the midst of a stretch of playing 20 games in 20 days and 47 games in 48 days leading into the All-Star break.
“You could see a much more open I-55 corridor now than obviously we could’ve in the month of April,” said Mozeliak. “Clearly, I sort of boxed ourselves in this off-season, but now we kind of have it.”
Pitcher Sam Tuivailala will be eligible to be recalled in one more day and Marco Gonzales and Luke Weaver also have Major League experience and are pitching well in Memphis. Miguel Socolovich accepted his outright and has reported to Memphis as well.
In three starts this season at Memphis, Gant (0-1) had allowed three runs in 12.1 innings pitched while striking out 11 batters.
“If you recall, right when we were breaking camp, Gant was likely going to make our club,” reminded Mozeliak. “In my mind, he did everything he needed to do to show he could contribute.”
The addition of Gant also allows for the Cardinals to have more help from the left-side in shorter situations.
“It allows us to maybe change how we think about Lyons a little bit,” said Mozeliak. “Gant could obviously then be used in a more long role because he has the ability to go three, four, or five innings.”
Had there been a physical issue, the disabled list could’ve been an option for Broxton, as his contributions as the senior member in the bullpen have been appreciated.
“Of course that’s a factor,” said Mozeliak. “But in the end, when you think about where this club is and the struggles we’re having, changing that dynamic or that look in the bullpen is more important than just worrying about sort of relationships and solely mentoring.”
So who steps into a larger leadership role in the bullpen with the departure of Broxton?
“I wouldn’t overthink that right now,” said Mozeliak. “We had leadership in the bullpen and was that working?”
“Getting people out will create leadership.”
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI, STLBaseballWeekly.com