St. Louis Cardinals: Arbitration Decisions Leave Seth Maness Out In Cold
The St. Louis Cardinals tendered contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players on Friday save that of Seth Maness.
Friday brought with it exciting news for five of the six arbitration-eligible players in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Players such as Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Siegrist, and Michael Wacha were all granted contracts and the organization will now work to avoid arbitration. This is an incredibly Mozeliak-like move and one that certainly benefits the team.
The one player of the six eligible who was not offered (tendered) a contract was Seth Maness. All reports (see those of Jennifer Langosch) are that the St. Louis Cardinals were prepared to offer Maness a contract in keeping with the other arb-eligible players until the deal fell moving Jaime Garcia from the Cardinals to the Braves.
Once Jaime was sent packing, and once the ship had arrived from the Braves bearing with it three names- one of which had to fill a spot on the 40-man in the way of John Gant– which added too many bodies, a decision had to be made by leadership. The decision facing them was to either keep the 40-man full by offering Maness a contract or to release him through a non-tendering of contract.
Mozeliak decided that roster flexibility- namely entering the Winter Meetings with a vacant spot on his 40-man roster- was more enticing then having the former double-play master receive a contract. Thus, on Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals non-tendered Maness making him a free agent.
Let’s take a look at Maness’ statistics with the St. Louis Cardinals over his career:
|162 Game Avg.||5||3||.630||3.19||68||0||13||2||66||71||23||6||13||42||120||3.55||1.256|
When he was good, he was great. Remember those days? Remember when Maness would enter an inning with one out and runners on first and second needing to get that ground-ball-double-play? Remember how he would 9-out-of-10 times get this and fans would celebrate (as would Cardinals Care)? I do.
But wait… remember too when injury started killing him in 2015 and he would enter in those same situations and give up a smash double to the gap scoring those two runners and surrendering the lead? Let’s look at these advanced statistics:
It jumps out to me in the above chart the regression of holds (save the jump in 2015) and certainly the increase of the inherited runners scoring. How about a deep look at Maness’ percentages:
Notice the regression here too? I noticed immediately the regression in ground ball/fly ball counts with Maness losing his abilities to induce ground balls. In addition, I noticed that he annually lost percentage points on his double plays and double play percentages. That said, Maness- by and large- is near or better than the MLB average.
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So why did the St. Louis Cardinals decide to forgo his place with the 2017 team? First, I must remind you- if this was even needed- of his injury season of 2016. Maness had been placed on the disabled list in May of 2016 with elbow inflammation. This disabled list stint lasted only a month but he simply didn’t return as the team would have liked and he returned to the DL in August.
The second DL trip ended with season-ending surgery to repair the inflammation. The belief was that Maness would be ready for the start of the 2017 season but Mozeliak decided he would prefer other pen flexibility than to take the risk of returning Maness. Thus, Maness is free now to find a new home.
Before moving to another topic or article, I (and almost all of Twitter) would like to remind Cardinals Nation of some of the joys of Maness shared on live television after the St. Louis Cardinals clinched their third straight NL-Central title (enjoy!):
All said and done, I am actually glad of this move. Eight months ago I wrote that the time had potentially come to cut ties with Maness. After a season of impressive work from the rule 5 pick of Matt Bowman, along with my notes shared here and in the article of eight months ago, I think Mozeliak made the right move here.
Next: The Best Moments of Jaime Garcia
A move like this, a move that leaves a space on the 40-man, surely indicates that more is coming. Mozeliak is now ready with open space to make something happen in the Winter Meetings. Stay tuned with us and we will update you as soon as we hear anything!