Seth Maness is off to a rocky start in 2016, so let’s examine some options of how to get him back on track
There is no arguing that Seth Maness has been awful this season. He has given up an earned run in 6 of his 8 outings. Maness has been called upon in crucial situations and has not been able to get the outs that the Cardinals need.
Maness is coming off of a down year in 2015. He posted a 4.26 ERA with a 1.42 WHIP. Maness has yet to show that he is the dominant reliever that he once was when he was younger.
Maness’s problem is rooted in his drop of velocity. The right hander’s fastball used to sit at 91 MPH but this season it only averages 87 MPH. Maness has very little room for error when he pitches because Major League hitters can easily hit his slow-paced fastball.
Along with his decline in velocity, Maness’s off-speed pitches are not nearly as effective as they once were. Maness’s changeup is simply lacking movement and the velocity discrepancy is not large enough to keep hitters off balanced.
Joakim Soria and Seth Maness have taught me a valuable lesson: Never like a relief pitcher
— Maq (@elmaquino) April 26, 2016
Like his changeup, Maness’s slider has also lost its sharp break. He has simply lost confidence in this pitch throwing it three times less than he did last season. His slider is not there to get him out of tough at-bats in important situations.
So, what should the Cardinals do with Seth Maness? General Manager John Mozeliak won’t be able to acquire a lot of value if he decides to trade him. Maness is a 27 year-old reliever who has not shown he can pitch since 2014, so teams will not be willing to part ways with top talent to acquire him.
The Cardinals best option is to send Maness down to AAA Memphis to get an increased workload. In the minors, it will not be as stressful as the big league level. Maness will be able to find his command, off-speed pitches, and hopefully as the season progresses, his velocity.
With Maness off the MLB roster, there is a spot open for one of the Cardinals many pitching prospects. Unfortunately, Marco Gonzales is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and top Prospect Alex Reyes is out with a marijuana suspension and cannot be called up to pitch at the Major League level.
The Cardinals have the option of bringing up flame-throwing right hander Sam Tuivailala who can be dominant in the bullpen. Tuivailala is a reliever, so there is no worry about him not getting innings. The Cardinals might be reluctant to call him up though because of his lack of control.
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