Not so long ago, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, in the wake of the injury to incumbent Jason Motte, turned to Mitchell Boggs as his replacement closer. Now the struggling Boggs has been optioned back to Triple-A. Replacing Boggs on the active roster will be Carlos Martinez.
Boggs, 29, was one of baseball's most effective setup men last season (174 ERA+, 1.05 WHIP, 2.76 K/BB ratio), but in 2013 the wheels have come off: a 12.66 ERA and nine unintentional walks in 10 2/3 innings. More to the point, an opponents' OBP of .500 has been his undoing. While Boggs' velocity readings don't seem out of order, he has -- per the excellent Brooks Baseball -- shown a distinct loss of horizontal movement on his slider.
As for Martinez, the 21-year-old right-hander has worked almost exclusively as a starter in the minors, but he'll be replacing Boggs in the bullpen. Across parts of four minor-league seasons, Martinez has pitched to a 2.74 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 3.04 K/BB ratio. Coming into the 2013 season, MLB.com tabbed him as the 33rd-best prosect in baseball.