On Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals made a move, albeit a very small one, to try to improve their 2009 relief corps by trading for right-hander Blaine Boyer from the Atlanta Braves.
It was an all “B” player transaction as the Cardinals dealt from a position of strength, sending Memphis outfielder Brian Barton in the other direction. Barton spent the entire 2008 season on the major league roster after having been selected from Cleveland in the December, 2007 Rule 5 Draft, but did not make the Cardinals this spring.
Boyer, 27, suffered through a terrible start to the 2009 regular season, giving up six runs on three walks in just 1 1/3 innings. The Braves had apparently seen enough as he was designated for assignment on Saturday, following a similar path as his 2008 Atlanta teammate, left-hander Royce Ring. The Cards added the lefty over the winter hoping he could help the major league club, but Ring is currently in Triple-A.
Boyer, an Atlanta native, appeared in a career-high 76 games for the Braves in 2008, ranking ninth among National League pitchers. He also set career bests in innings pitched (72.0) and strikeouts (67) and was among Braves’ leaders in holds with 14.
On the downside, his 2008 record was 2-6 and his ERA was a bloated 5.88. After a decent start, Boyer's second-half ERA last season was 11.17 in 25 appearances.
Boyer had been a career-long Brave after being taken by the organization in the third round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. His career totals in two-plus seasons with Atlanta include a 6-9 won-loss mark with one save and a 5.46 ERA.
Boyer is scheduled to join the Cardinals for their home series opener with the New York Mets on Tuesday, April 21. The corresponding move on the Cardinals 25-man active roster has not yet been announced, though it is expected to be a position player, with third baseman David Freese the most likely candidate. The club's 40-man roster remains at 38 players.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
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