What initially appeared to be a simple 15-day DL issue has now become a nightmare for St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams, who was diagnosed with a right quad tear Wednesday, putting the rest of the 2015 in jeopardy for the slugger.
Adams, who left Tuesday’s game against Arizona in the fifth inning, will undergo surgery on Friday to repair the tear, leaving the Cardinals with some homework to do in the days – and weeks – to come. The 26-year-old was running on a double in that game and reportedly felt a ‘pop,’ prompting his departure.
Initially, St. Louis had planned to rely upon offseason acquisition Mark Reynolds. However, with this now becoming a long-term vacancy at first, there are several options on the table for general manager Jon Mozeliak and his front office.
Granted, Adams was struggling this season – something I detailed in a post earlier this month. Despite his woes, he had driven in five runs and hit a home run over the course of the past seven days, as St. Louis got on a roll again after stuttering a bit in mid-May. On the year, the former 23rd round pick of the Cardinals boasts a weak .243/.281/.375 slash-line, far below his career averages of .277/.317/.453.
In the interim, it appears as if Reynolds is the obvious solution. So far this season, he’s performed well for the first-place Cardinals. Reynolds became nationally-recognized early-on in his career for his power, as well as his prolific strikeout totals (including an MLB record 223 times back in 2009). This season, however, he’s improved his approach at the plate through the first 40 games, evidenced by his much-improved .253/.321/.404 line.
While a .250 average seems paltry, it’s a major step in the right direction for Reynolds, who hasn’t come close to that mark since that aforementioned 2009 campaign. From 2010 to 2014, he’s averaged a .212 clip in 700 contests, which left plenty to be desired.
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Other options include some stop-gap measures, including the recently-DFAd Travis Ishikawa, or more impactful deals, which, in my opinion, seem highly unlikely. Some, including Jeff Todd and Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, have mentioned the likes of Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau and Adam Lind as potential targets, but I believe another option is more probable.
As someone who saw Stephen Piscotty play in the lower levels of the Minors, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him earn the call to The Show at some point this season, regardless of his disappointing numbers with Memphis so far. Of course, Redbirds first baseman Dan Johnson is also another in-house candidate, although he lacks the name recognition of his teammate – who, despite his prowess with the bat, has never played first base professionally – a point also made by MLBTR.
The injury is no-doubt a big loss for the Cardinals, but the in-house options, including some combination of Reynolds, Johnson or Piscotty (to name a few) should be more than adequate to help keep things on-course this season.
Had Adams been contributing more offensively, his loss may have proven more impactful, but with him off to a cold start and Reynolds performing well, the damage to the Cardinals’ lineup should be mitigated.
For now, I anticipate Mozeliak and company will stay the course. However, you can never count out the St. Louis front office from making a splash should things start heading in the wrong direction without Adams in the Cardinals’ lineup.