The St. Louis Cardinals era is over for Ty Wigginton. Today, the veteran announced that he had given the team its unconditional release.
Wigginton, 35 and only nominally capable of playing the field, had signed the Cardinals in the offseason to provide him with a roster spot and occasional playing time. He appeared in only 47 games for the team and had a cumulative OPS of .431. Unfortunately, the Cardinals didn’t meet his expectations.
“This was really a miscalculation on our part,” Wigginton’s agent said. “We thought that we were signing the Cardinals of the early and mid 90s. You know, a mediocre team without any real playoff hopes, where my client would fit in. But the Cards kept winning, and they kept putting my guy in to bat in critical spots, and we realized that it just wasn’t working out.”
Signs of trouble appeared early on in the deal, when on April 7 the Cardinals gave Wigginton a start at third base. Wigginton’s fans levelled heavy criticism at the team over the misuse of their player, noting that even with David Freese injured, he should have at least been behind Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso, Ryan Jackson, Allen Craig, and Joe Kelly on the 3b depth chart.
The rift between the veteran hitter, who hit .156 as a pinch hitter in 2013, and the team, which currently holds a .609 winning percentage, only intensified as the Cardinals emerged as a contender. Wigginton was reportedly unhappy with GM John Mozeliak’s decision to send down embattled reliever Mitchell Boggs, and voiced his displeasure by spending more time on the bench and less time in the lineup. He’d hoped that the organization received his message, but when the Cardinals began decreasing the playing time for shortstop Pete Kozma, it only emphasized how different their goals were.
With the Cardinals retaking the NL Central lead over the weekend, Wigginton knew what had to be done. “I respect the months of service the Cardinals organization has given me,” Wigginton explained in a prepared statement. “But it’s time I let them go. It’s just not fair to my fans, who don’t want to see me bat in important situations.”
While the Cardinals are now free to sign or promote any bench player they wish, Wigginton is still on the hook to receive the remainder of the five million dollars he agreed to take when he joined the team.