Ok, fine. I give.
I’ve been through the splits.
I have convinced myself that John Smoltz doesn’t have the bullets left to be a starting pitcher.
I even made a pros and cons list!
Word has been filtering through Twitter via Joe Strauss:
Barring waiver claim, Smoltz to Cardinals Wednesday: STL Post-Dispatch #stlcards
So Smoltzie is coming in as the fifth starter.
I’ll drink the Kool-Aid.
While his (albeit small) sample size in Boston this year just begs for a bullpen role, this is one of those times that I will choose to put the splits away. I will choose to ignore the fact that every measurable statistic that makes sense to apply here argues for bullpen over rotation (slash lines each increasing time through the opponent’s lineup, slash lines for increasing pitch count, slash lines for vRHB and vLHB).
Let’s put all of that aside for now.
Smoltz will take his regular (or possible semi-regular) starts in the rotation for now. Remember that the Cardinals have a bunch of off-days remaining yet this season. Between Smoltz and Kyle Lohse they may be able to limit exposure to both between now and the end of the season.
Surely the Cardinals didn’t make any guarantees to Smoltz about keeping him in the rotation indefinitely right? He could and likely will still wind up as a valuable asset in the bullpen. I’m not saying the Cards’ brass would intentionally mislead the guy, but surely the topic came up, no? “Smoltzie, we’ll let you start – but your real value to us is going to be in the bullpen, perhaps sooner and perhaps later.”
Perhaps therein lies the real value. Perhaps there weren’t any other teams with World Series aspirations that were calling. Perhaps we’ll never know.
Either way, expect to see Smoltz starting for the Cardinals sooner than later. Perhaps as soon as this weekend during the West Coast swing.
Question now is who goes down to make room? Mitchell Boggs after another start-him-then-throw-him-away outing?
Settle in and enjoy your tall glass of Kool-Aid and another standing ovation at Busch III, Cardinal fans. After all, the other moves John Mozeliak has made in the last few weeks haven’t turned out so bad…