Ruben Tejada was activated on April 18 and the St. Louis Cardinals sent utility player Greg Garcia packing to Memphis. In the eyes of this writer, this was the wrong move.
A quality shortstop, Ruben Tejada, was picked-up by the St. Louis Cardinals to fill the void left by the injured Jhonny Peralta. When this transpired, the utility players on staff- Jedd Gyorko, Aledmys Diaz, and Greg Garcia– certainly noticed the additional competition.
Fast-forward to Tejada’s injury at the start of the season and these three players spelled the starting middle infield (with the addition of Kolton Wong). Now, a month later, Tejada presented as well enough to come off the disabled list. In this move, however, someone needed to be sent packing.
The first possibility was to send Aledmys Diaz packing as he had made the major squad thanks in large part to the Tejada injury. This wouldn’t do, though, since Diaz was showing good-to-great skills in the field (while accounting for four errors on the other hand) and impressive offensive numbers (batting averages per game hovering around the .400 figure). In the end, Diaz remained.
The second possibility was to send Jedd Gyorko packing since his batting performance had been less than stellar. His defense, unlike Diaz, was solid and he had/has committed two fewer errors. Gyorko was likely kept on the pine in St. Louis thanks to the promise of power he possesses as a late-inning pinch hitter and thanks to his ability to serve as a backup for third, short, and second. So he remained too.
The third possibility (of the names filling where Tejada fits), and the one that stuck, was to send Greg Garcia packing. Garcia had not been party to as much game action as Diaz but had produced when called upon. Defensively, Garcia-at the point of his departure- had committed fewer errors than Diaz and fewer errors than Gyorko.
Offensively, Garcia saw fewer at bats (10) than Gyorko (25) or Diaz (32) at the time of his departure. These numbers, on the one hand, Garcia nevertheless posted great batting averages in this small sample size no lower than .500.
Garcia showed, much to my chagrin as I wasn’t a fan of his coming out of last season and this spring, his prowess this season as a utility player and a great solution to pinch-hit including a pinch-hit home run on April 8.
All of this aside, Garcia was the one sent packing but was this the right choice? Had you asked me last season, I would have 100 percent agreed. This season, I do not agree.
Since Garcia’s departure, Matheny has names like Brandon Moss, Matt Adams, Jeremy Hazelbaker, etc. to call on to pinch-hit depending on the day. While these names should be intimidating, none of them have been doing well in pinch-hit situations of late.
To-date, of interest, the St. Louis Cardinals lead the majors with the best pinch-hit batting average posting a .417 in twenty-four pinch-hit at-bats. Much of this success, remember, is/was due to Greg Garcia.
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Since Garcia’s departure, Brandon Moss- a better suggestion in my mind for an option or DFA rather than Garcia- has served as a pinch-hitter in two appearances. In these, he has posted zero hits. Also, Gyorko has served in two pinch-hitter situations posting zero hits. Also, Diaz has served in one pinch-hit situation and failed to post a hit.
Yet another, Adams- a better suggestion for an option or DFA over Garcia- has served in a pinch-hit situation failing to post a hit.
As can be seen above, Garcia served a purpose that is now lacking on the team. When adding in his versatility of defensive positions (over that of say Matt Adams) and considering his foot-speed, Garcia should- in my opinion- be on the St. Louis bench, not playing every day for Memphis.
The decision made, it is time for Ruben Tejada (and the others) to prove that their inclusion and Garcia’s exclusion is the right choice. Since April 18 when Garcia departed, I have not seen evidence that Garcia’s departure was the best selection.
When will the Cardinals organization actually assess the Moss/Adams situation? I feel bad for Garcia but ultimately want the team to win. Let’s hope those remaining will find and keep the magic winning ways with or without a super utility like Garcia. Go CARDS!