Just a few days ago, the Cardinals called up second baseman Kolten Wong. From what we’ve seen, he can do it all: hit, field, steal bases, and just about everything else you could want.
Because of this, there has been a fair amount of talk about moving Matt Carpenter to third, making Wong the full time second baseman, and using David Freese as a nice trade chip for a shortstop or something else we need.
I don’t want to say that this is a bad idea, because I don’t think that it is, but I would like to examine some of the possible upsides to keeping Freese around.
NOTA BENE: This entire post is disturbingly premature, and we have way too much of the 2013 season to be talking about the off-season, but here we go anyway.
First, with Freese’s down year, the Cardinals may not have to pay him much more than they are currently. The general assumption is that his price will jump some, but he hasn’t blown anyone away with his performance this year, and that works in the Cardinals’ favor.
Second, Kolten Wong has yet to prove himself over the course of a long season. If the Cardinals use a platoon of sorts between Carpenter, Freese, and Wong, you could give the rookie a chance to really establish himself before he has the pressure of being an everyday starter.
Should any of the three really drop off, then the other two can step up and hold down the fort.
If all three do as well as we hope, then the Cardinals have a nice bat on the bench should they need it, regardless of who sits.
It should be possible to get all of them upwards of 500 at-bats over the course of the season, and add a dangerous bat for late in games, whoever sits.
Personally, I would want Carpenter starting on an everyday basis, so I’d alternate which position he plays and rotate in Wong and Freese (maybe a lefty/righty platoon split), playing both at times to give Carp some rest. But there are other possibilities as well.
Basically, there is at least some reason to consider keeping Freese around. If it doesn’t seem to be working out (or if Wong works out even better than expected), Mo could always consider trading him away at the trade deadline in 2014.
Especially given the overall caution that Mozeliak has often exhibited in the past, I think that this course of action is a likely one.
Maybe I’m just reluctant to give up the guy who did this . . .