St. Louis Cardinals Buffa’s Bits: Should Mo deal for a shortstop?


In the latest bullet round, I break down a number of spring training topics, including shortstop options.

Welcome to the bullet round, or a stream of consciousness about all things St. Louis Cardinals. Instead of donating an article to one topic, I’ll handle several here as a cloudy sky swallows up Little Rock, Arkansas. Let’s dive right in.


General Manager John Mozeliak can react to Jhonny Peralta‘s thumb injury or he can overreact. If Mozeliak makes a trade now, teams know what he needs and will make him twist and turn for a suitable replacement. I don’t see Mo looking outside the roster to fill this problem. Between Jedd Gyorko, Aledmys Diaz and Greg Garcia, there are less than 40 games played at shortstop in the Major Leagues. However, isn’t this a good time to see if Jedd Gyorko(signed through 2019) can play shortstop since Kolten Wong is locked up long time and Peralta’s last year is 2017? Isn’t it a good time to see if the 25 year old Diaz can continue that torrid hitting he started last August? Could it be time to plug in Garcia and see what he has? I mean, Pete Kozma played an entire season at shortstop in 2013 and the team did okay so how bad can Garcia be?

My point is as tasty as Erick Aybar(less power, more speed and contact) is, the Braves will make Mo sweat. What else is out there? Please don’t say Elvis Andrus or Troy Tulowitzki. What Mozeliak is prepared to do is see what exists indoors before he looks outside. He has time. Peralta’s thumb didn’t fall off and while it’s a fragile and complex injury, he should be back for the second half of the season. If the in house candidates flop and Peralta’s injury persists, Mo can look for a trade later on when other teams could be hurting for their own needs. He has no leverage right now and will have to give up a fair share for a marginal talent. So he waits and pounces later if needed. Mo doesn’t overreact. He is smart, tactical, and won’t be rushed.


Back when Jason Heyward was a free agent likely heading to St. Louis, the Matt Holliday to first base had more steam. While Derrick Goold and other reporters were calling the scrappy bloggers nuts for thinking up such an idea, there was Holliday at first base yesterday in an actual game. Folks, I still believe Holliday will not be used at first in a regular season game. Look what happened Saturday.

Holliday playing first base may add a guy like Tommy Pham to the lineup but it could make the infield turn ugly. Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong aren’t gold glovers and Jedd Gyorko doesn’t have great range so imagine a ground ball staff sending dozens of opportunities to the big guy at first base. Also, you have Matt Adams and Brandon Moss. Stephen Piscotty worked on first base defense in the offseason for a reason. Holliday’s best value to this team is in left field unless something drastic happens. As comic book cool as it sounds, Holliday at first may get ugly real quick.

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Underestimating Tommy Pham

A lot of people don’t think Pham is going to do much this year. The majority of that analysis is generated by his injury history. The man has only played 100 games or more in a season once in the past five years. His hamstrings and quads have betrayed him and last year he played with poor contacts resting on his eyes. Still, a healthy Pham is exciting and beneficial to a Cards team lacking real outfield support in the minors. Pham got better as 2015 went on. After a thrilling debut against San Diego in early July, he fizzled the rest of the month. He got better.

In August, he came back and compiled an .831 OPS in 43 at bats. Small sample size(roughly ten full games), but Pham improved. In September, he slugged .661 and his OBP was .359 while he hit .322. He hit 4 home runs and drove in 13 in 59 at bats(roughly 16 full games). Pham supplies good defense and a bat capable of collecting singles, doubles, triples and homers. No one is calling him the next Adam Jones but Pham could surprise people in 2016 if he gets the playing time. At the very least, he improves their bench. The man has new contacts and a hunger to prove himself because time isn’t exactly on his side as a MLB player.



There’s no need to rush the most important player on this roster back to game action. Molina is vital to the Cards success. He’s like the sauce when you make spaghetti. Mess it up, take it away, and the overall dish doesn’t work. Molina is coming off multiple thumb surgeries resulting from a homeplate collision with Anthony Rizzo. He has caught roughly over 13,800 innings behind home plate in his career and is getting to the age where a rush back from injury could be futile. There’s no reason to hurry this guy. Brayan Pena is more than capable, offensively and defensively, holding the fort while Molina gets his swing and legs back. If he gets hurt in April, I’ll place full blame on the coaching staff and Mike Matheny. I don’t care about Molina bullying his way back into the lineup. There are coaches in place for a reason. Keeping the players best interests in mind, even when it makes them stand in the way. Keep Molina rest for the latter portion of the season, something he hasn’t injury free since 2013.

Next: Step up Aledmys Diaz

Final thoughts:

*Carlos Martinez is better than Michael Wacha folks and it’s not even close. I’ll elaborate later this week.

*I have a feeling Sam Tuivailala and Charlie Tilson are going to make a dent this year at some point on the big club.

*Don’t freak over Adam Wainwright being a little wild Monday. That’s the first time he’s thrown to another team since October. And it’s spring training.

*2016 may feature the best Cardinals bullpen in the last ten years and remembering those past groups, that says a lot.

Stay tuned for more coverage. Find me on Twitter @buffa82.