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Mike Matheny searches for answers to the St. Louis Cardinals’ offensive drought. In the last week, he started Jon Jay but not Matt Adams against a left-handed pitcher. Monday night, he started two right-handed bats against a right-handed pitcher when he had trusted lefty bat options. The next night, against a right-hander most Cardinals’ batters had not seen before, he replaced the right-handed bats with left-handed ones. This is flailing around; this is not a plan.
A Cardinals subreddit poster this morning said that Jon Jay was a better hitter than Peter Bourjos since 2010. It’s simply not so. Bourjos compiled a 3.9 WAR as a hitter in 2011. Jay’s best season was 2012, when he totaled 3 WAR at the plate.
Peter Bourjos hit .271/.327/.438 as a 24-year-old. He hit a dozen home runs and stole 22 bases in a park that plays much like Busch Stadium. That is a star when one considers his defense. That is above whatever Jon Jay has done. Bourjos is two years younger than Jay.
There are fixes that can be applied which will be targeted, discrete, open in duration, and beneficial to the club. Stop the shuffling rotations. Bite the bullet temporarily on Craig, and bench his spot in right field for Oscar Taveras. Install Bourjos as their guy. Work out an irregular platoon at first base. Have Adams and Craig split time there.
Also, admit their mistake and recall Kolten Wong. They already know that Mark Ellis, Daniel Descalso, and Greg Garcia are not likely to exceed what Wong was giving them. In the case of needing a premium bat there is a solution in the form of Taveras. He can’t be as bad as Craig is now. The St. Louis Cardinals need to address the problems they have, not fault Bourjos and Wong for being themselves.
These moves augment bench strength and improve the defensive look. The club planned on Taveras being here this season anyway. This team needs wins it’s capable of delivering. It’s imperative that management think better about how to achieve those wins.