Cardinals trade Mitchell Boggs to Colorado

News-DemocratJuly 9, 2013 

— Ineffective reliever Mitchell Boggs was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.

In return, the Cardinals received the Rockies' international signing bonus slot No. 4. The Cardinals' budget to sign international players was increased by $206,400 to $2,267,000.

"The reason for not (trading for) a player to be named later or getting a player, we were having a hard time nailing that down," Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said. "We threw out the idea of possibly doing international slot dollars and that ended up being attractive to them."

Boggs, 29, was the Cardinals' eighth-inning setup man for closer Jason Motte last season and thrived in the role, going 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 78 games. He allowed just 56 hits in 73 1/3 innings, with 21 walks and 58 strikeouts.

But Boggs was unable to recapture that form this season. He failed as the emergency closer for the injured Motte, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May, and in other roles. He was 0-3 with an 11.05 ERA in 18 games and 14 2/3 innings, allowing 21 hits and 15 walks.

"He had a comfort level where he was last year and he was obviously very successful at it," Mozeliak said. "No ill will towards him. Hopefully, he gets back on track and finds himself being productive in the big leagues."

Boggs, who will report to the Class AA Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League on Thursday, battled mechanical issues and, in the end, appeared to have lost all confidence.

"I think at this level, it's about consistency and it's about the ability to repeat and make pitches," Mozeliak said. "When he was up here, he wasn't able to do it. And he was a little snakebitten at times, right? Infield hit, maybe an error, then a base on balls, then a big hit and it kept him from having true success here.

"It was frustrating, I think, for everybody involved."

Mozeliak said the timing seemed right to deal Boggs, particularly as interest in him was waning.

"There were some teams that, early on, did (inquire about Boggs)," Mozeliak said. "But the market, to me, seemed like it was starting to fade, so I felt like we had to do something.

"My thinking with Mitchell was it was going to be hard to get him back here, so we had to do something. And so the last three or four weeks, we have been working to try and find out a spot."

Boggs twice this season was optioned to Memphis, where he was 0-2 with a 5.70 ERA in 18 games. Boggs permitted 30 hits and 11 walks in 23 2/3 innings in his two stints with the Redbirds, and opposing hitters were batting .297 against him.

Boggs missed much of spring training while pitching for the United States in the World Baseball Classic. Mozeliak acknowledged it would be "purely speculation or guess" to suggest that Boggs' participation in the WBC contributed to his poor showing.

"I think the one thing he struggled with this spring is he didn't get a lot of work," Mozeliak said. "Then when he got back into our camp, obviously he was thrown into it, and he just never got untracked.

"I know he wished he had a different season. He had high expectations going into the year. Frankly, being named to the U.S. team this year going into spring training, I think he was very excited about that. So to be where he ended up pitching almost half the season to date in Triple-A, (that) was not where he wanted to be."

Mozeliak characterized Boggs' season as "disappointing." He didn't agree that it was "painful" to watch Boggs struggle, even as fans booed him during a series of ineffective outings.

"The success he's had, you would hope for better," Mozeliak said. "But it wasn't painful. I'm not hurt."

The Cardinals have until July 2, 2014, to spend their international allocation.

"We look at it as being able to pick up another prospect," Mozeliak said.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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