There’s no easy way to say it but Pete Kozma‘s days are numbered as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Drafted by the Cardinals out of high school in the first round of the 2007 draft, Kozma made his debut late in the 2012 season when Rafael Furcal went down with an injury.
The Cardinals acquired Jhonny Peralta as a free agent in November with the hopes of upgrading the offense at the shortstop position. It worked. Granted Peralta has only played in 6 games this spring, two of his three hits have been for home runs. Peralta is only hitting .200 in the Grapefruit League games, for what it is worth.
Kozma, on the other hand, is hitting .333 in 8 games this spring. Of his five hits, only one has been for extra bases. Kozma has one strikeout to Peralta’s five strikeouts.
Like Matt Adams, Kozma is really limited to one position and that is as a shortstop. The Cardinals will use Peralta as their primary shortstop but they also have Daniel Descalso, too. Descalso can play third base and second base in addition to playing shortstop when someone needs a day off or manager Mike Matheny wishes to platoon players. Descalso is hitting .412 through 7 spring games–one of his seven hits has been for extra bases.
The Cardinals bench situation is figuring itself out. While Aledmys Diaz will be a non-factor for the Cardinals infield during the 2014 season, the outfield bench players, assuming Peter Bourjos will be the everyday starter in center field, will likely be Jon Jay and Shane Robinson. Once Oscar Taveras gets promoted, this will change the outfield factor, too.
Not including backup catcher Tony Cruz, the likely bench players will definitely include both second baseman Mark Ellis and utility infielder Daniel Descalso. Not including Kozma, the bench is already at five players. With Descalso able to play shortstop, there’s really no reason to keep Kozma around with the Cardinals.
If Kozma starts the season with Memphis, he will presumably be fighting with Greg Garcia for playing time at short stop. His days as a Cardinal are numbered with or without the Diaz signing. Had Furcal never gotten injured, it is doubtful that we would be talking about Kozma right now but that’s beside the point.