Oct 28, 2011; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig (21) makes a leaping catch on a ball hit by Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (not pictured) in the sixth inning in game seven of the 2011 World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Cardinals set to call Allen Craig up: Who goes down?


 

The news coming out of St Louis is that Allen Craig could be recalled from the disabled list as early as today. He’s certainly making a solid claim for the recall, as he hit a three run home run and two home run last night. Craig will more than likely fill in at first base until Lance Berkman is ready and then will most likely split time between the three outfield spots and first base to give the starters at those positions days off. Even with uncertainty surrounding his position, Craig should have no problem amassing 400 at bats at least. The question now becomes what move will the Cardinals make to create room on the roster?

The decision really boils down to four players: Shane Robinson, Matt Carpenter, Erik Komatsu, and Tyler Greene. There are arguments for and against the demotion of each. Redbird Rants own Marilyn Green chimed in on this topic as well, but I have a bit of a different opinion.

Shane Robinson

Robinson has been a solid contributor as the team’s stand-in fourth outfielder. He offers versatility as he can play all three outfield positions and has put up spectacular offensive numbers. His BABIP is at an unsustainable .462, but, as he is a bench player, his regression shouldn’t be as extreme. Robinson still has options, so, even though he is performing better than Komatsu, he could be sent down as the Cardinals have no fear of losing him.

Erik Komatsu

As stated earlier, Robinson is outperforming Komatsu statistically. Komatsu is a rule 5 pick, though, and can’t be sent down without either sending him back to the Nationals or working out a trade, which results in losing another player. On the other hand, in his short time with the Cardinals Komatsu has shown similarities to Adron Chambers. Both players offer outfield versatility, solid contact, and speed on the basepaths. Also, Chambers is performing exceptionally well at AAA. If the Cardinals decide to send Komatsu down, he wouldn’t really be the biggest loss for the organization.

Matt Carpenter

Carpenter started out red hot as he filled in at first base for Lance Berkman. His biggest performance was a 4-4 5 RBI game against the Cubs, however he has only gone 7 for 39 since then. He has stabilized after a hot start and now with his BABIP settling in at .306, Carpenter has more than likely settled into his standard expected performance. The issue with Carpenter is his age. Since he broke out really late into his career, there really isn’t a lot of upside left. Carpenter is not a power hitter and his limited upside at this point is as a solid .300 hitter with the chance to put up good RBI totals. Basically, he’s David Freese. Since David Freese is still under team control for three more seasons and Zack Cox presents more upside as a prospect, it may not be a priority for the Cardinals to provide Carpenter with playing time if there are better options available.

Tyler Greene

Greene was supposed to have his major breakout this year. With Tony LaRussa retiring, it was believed that Greene would be able to get more playing time since his perceived enemy in the dugout was gone. New manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak both said in Spring that Greene was going to be given the chance to win the starting second base job outright. Matheny also said that he preferred Descalso in a utility role because of his versatility. Greene has struggled offensively, though, and his defense at second has been lacking. Descalso has been slightly better offensively and much better defensively. Also, Skip Schumaker‘s return from the DL created even less opportunities at second base, as he is a better offensive option than both players. Greene hasn’t gotten a start at second base since Skip’s return and it doesn’t look like there is much room for him there going forward. If Schumaker takes over at secone, Descalso has the utility infield position locked up. With Robinson, Komatsu, Schumaker, and Craig all able to play center field, there would literally be no room at all for Greene if he offers no offensive production. Quite simply, it looks like Tyler Greene might get stuck with the dreaded AAAA tag.

If I’m making the call, I’m personally sending down Tyler Greene. Realistically, Matt Carpenter will probably get sent down once Berkman returns. Assuming Berkman, Schumaker, Furcal, Freese, Beltran, Jay, and Holliday are looked at as the starters, Descalso can fill in for any of the infielders, Craig can fill in for Holliday, and Craig, Robinson, and Komatsu can fill in for any of the outfielders. There just isn’t a need for Tyler Greene. Greene may be out of options, but is it worth it to the team to keep an underperforming player over a much better and more useful bench player? That is the issue the Cardinals face today.

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Tags: Cardinals Erik Komatsu Shane Robinson Skip Schumaker Tyler Greene

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    Justin, I SOOOO agree with you,  send down Greene. There is DD and Skip to play 2nd, though we know a writer who will be totally against this..
     
    Your argument makes alot of since..  Greene goes first and when Berkman is back Carpenter is next.. Komatsu is a possibility and would not be missed due to Chambers still under control, though I dont see them letting Komatsu go just yet.. Maybe later in the year, but for now I see them holding on to him..
    Robinson has been playing better then all of them over the first 30 days he has been steady.. He is a keeper.,.
    I am just excited to FINALLY see Craig in this line up and at 1st, I just hope and pray he is truly ready to grind it out with no further damage to his knees..
    Once Berkman returns this line up is so solid,  assuming they all stay healthy like you said.. JJ has been outstanding in center, though he is no Jim Edmonds.. Though far superior then Rasmus..
     
    Back to Greene,  he has had plenty of time to show what he can do, and he just cant do it, writers and fans, “Matheny and MO”  have to face the fact, that he will never produce on this level, not the way they need.. Some Writers just have it in for Skip, well he is what a Cardinal is all about. I could careless what fangraphs says,  The guy plays hard, does ever thing asked of him and is important in the club house.. Plus he has a .290 career average.. Once they find a TRUE second baseman, then I see DD going and Skip staying as super utility . This is assuming they make a trade or deal before the deadline..
     
    Good read

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    After reading Marilyn’s argument on keeping Greene, she has a valid point.. Depth for the infield versus options left on Robinson.. This is going to be a tough call for Matheny and MO..

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    Well it looks like Komatsu has been the one that was designated.. I am sure the Nats will keep him.. So it goes, just glad Craig is back and cant wait to see him tonight..