St. Louis Cardinals: Extending Kolten Wong Before Pitchers is Smart
Earlier today, the St. Louis Cardinals announced an extension with their all-star level second baseman. Curiously this was before extending two of their elite starting pitchers.
With the extension to Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals’ fans are left wondering why the team would extend their second baseman instead of Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha. This is a valuable question, as one would think the pitching rich Cardinals would look to lock down their potentially starting pitchers.
Case against the pitchers
This to me is an easy decision. While I believe Carlos Martinez has the potential to become one of the best starting pitchers in the league, the St. Louis Cardinals are going to be smart to see what Carlos brings to the table this year health wise, before they offer up a massive contract extension for the young right hander from the Dominican Republic.
While the team may publicly believe Carlos is healthy and ready to go this season, there is probably a little bit of concern amongst the front office. Especially regarding the reputation of the Cardinals’ medical staff.
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If the Cardinals see what I see in Michael Wacha, there may be concern that he is not as valuable as one would think. There is also concern from the public about Wacha’s health and return from the stress reaction in his shoulder that he had in 2014. This in my opinion is people not digging into the numbers on Wacha and simply thinking that a drop in production means an injury.
The organizational depth in pitching is ridiculous right now. The Cardinals have two pitchers in Alexander Reyes and Jack Flaherty who have the potential to be every bit as good as Martinez and Wacha, also having Luke Weaver, Junior Fernandez, Sandy Alcantara, Jake Woodford, and more all on their way up through the organization.
Meanwhile at second base, the Cardinals have just a few prospects who offer anything close to what Wong can offer at second base. At AAA the Cardinals will likely have Aledmys Diaz who offers the closest competition to Wong, while Jacob Wilson does not offer the contact that Wong offers he does have power, AA will likely have Darren Seferina, A Peoria will have Edmundo Sosa, Allen Cordoba, and Eliezer Alvarez as options and it stops there.
None of those guys are close to what Wong offers in terms of contact, speed, power, and budding on base skills. The only one who may offer the complete package is Seferina, but the extension gives the Cardinals flexibility and the ability to potentially use him in a trade or in a different position.
Next: Wong and Cards Agree to Five Year Extension
So, the extension to Wong comes at the right time for the team and the player, as Wong just saw the complicated situation Ian Desmond found himself in after turning down an extension from the Washington Nationals.