The St. Louis Cardinals began their off-season roster re-tooling by saying goodbye to left-handed pitcher Mike Maroth. The 30-year-old was released by the club on Tuesday.
Maroth was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in late June for a player to be named later in return compensation. That turned out to be former first-round pick, pitcher Chris Lambert.
Like Lambert, Maroth proved to be a major disappointment to the Cardinals. Overall, Maroth was 0-5 with a 10.66 ERA over 38 innings pitched with St. Louis. In seven starts, he posted an 0-4 record with a 9.29 ERA. Banished to the bullpen, he struggled even worse. In seven innings over seven games, Maroth allowed 13 runs for a 16.71 ERA in relief.
On his blog earlier this summer, Maroth summarized his difficulties on the mound. “Mentally, I have battled a lot. Baseball is as tough a mental game as it is physical. Often, you have to train yourself to be stronger mentally than physically to persevere through the tough stretches. My struggles in July were not anything I had ever been through before.”
Before joining St. Louis, Maroth was 5-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 13 starts for the Tigers this year as he tried to work his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow last June that limited his 2006 season to 13 appearances. With the Cardinals, Maroth missed almost three weeks in August due to what he called “a mild case of elbow tendinitis”.
Maroth is most known for his major league-leading 21 losses in 2003, his second season in the major leagues. That made him the first major league pitcher since 1980 to lose 20 or more games. Maroth was originally the third-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 1988 draft before being traded to Detroit in 1999.
Maroth has appeared in 161 career games (150 starts) over his six-year Major League career and owns a 50-67 record and lifetime 5.05 ERA. He was one of only 13 southpaw hurlers in Tigers history to record 50 wins, but left his second MLB club winless.
The Florida native was paid $2.95 million this past season in the second year of a two-year contract signed with the Tigers. Due to his service time accrued, Maroth is arbitration-eligible, but his rights could have been controlled by the Cardinals next season if they so chose.
Instead, they cut him loose.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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