In addition to the excitement of the pennant races, the month of September in major league baseball is also roster expansion time, the time we get to see the youngsters from the minors strut their stuff. However, in the case of the Cardinals, there isn’t a lot of strutting going on, primarily because there isn’t a lot of actual playing going on. The call ups this year were less than they have been in past years, though it is not the habit of Tony LaRussa to stock the roster with call ups anyway. Why that is is a source of speculation and not the focus of this post. Anyhoo, what I want to talk about are the guys who are here and why they have been scarce on the playing field.
The general consensus is that the call ups are not playing because the Cardinals are still in the race for a playoff berth and Tony LaRussa wants to stick with his regulars for now because of it. Some are more hopeful about their probability of success than others, which plays into the opinions now flying about on the Internets on this subject. Some are of the opinion that certain of our call ups would do just as good a job if not better than certain players that are getting the bulk of the playing time. The one most particularly placed in this category is Tyler Greene. Tyler is primarily a shortstop but has seen playing time at 2B, 3B and even the outfield. Rafael Furcal has been doing an excellent job at shortstop in the time he has been here, so the question is not so much should Greene be getting a lot of playing time at shortstop, but rather maybe he should be playing 2B. The 2B position is a sticky subject for many Cardinals fans. Right now the bulk of the playing time is going to Skip Schumaker, Tony LaRussa’s makeover project at that position for several seasons now. Schumaker is spelled at that position by Ryan Theriot against LHP and occasionally Nick Punto in late innings. There are many who believe Tyler Greene could do just as good a job as either Schumaker or Theriot at that position and should get a chance to demonstrate that.
My personal opinion is this. I want the Cardinals to get a REAL second baseman. Not a makeover project, not a sometimes second baseman in particular situations, a real, honest to goodness second baseman who has experience playing there and will play that position everyday. Skip Schumaker is not that guy. Ryan Theriot is not that guy. Nick Punto could be that guy. Daniel Descalso could definitely be that guy. In fact, if I had my pick off our current roster, Dirty Dan would be my choice. He’s young and cost controlled and has plenty of experience playing second base. Others would disagree and that’s fine. What I think isn’t worth a hat and two baseballs.
I guess I sort of digressed there so back to Tyler Greene. Again, my worthless opinion is that Tyler Greene has not shown me anything that would make me choose him over Descalso. His numbers in Memphis are impressive; his numbers in St. Louis, not so much. Now, before the sabermetric geeks get out their spreadsheets to tackle me with scorn about PAs and BABIPs and any other arrangements of letters, I am NOT saying he shouldn’t get the chance to show me something. In fact, I am saying just the opposite. I want Tyler Greene to play. I want Tyler Greene to get on that field, and play his ever loving heart out and prove my wrongness about him. I want him to make me own it. Despite my pigheaded, opinionated self, I want to be very, very wrong about Tyler Greene. Because if I am very, very wrong about Tyler Greene, then that means he is something special and THAT is what I want more than to be right.
Now that I have gotten that one off my chest, can I not see Corey Patterson with a bat in his hand again? Even if it is not the time to see the call ups getting everyday playing time, it is definitely not the time to have Corey Patterson pinch hitting in crucial situations, or even in any situations for that matter. Come on, the guy is batting .163 and has an amazing ability to swing and miss pitches on a regular basis. Pinch hit the kids, they can’t possibly be any worse. I’m begging here.