The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly listening to offers for their big first baseman and would be wise to find a new home for him.
The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Matt Adams in the twenty-third round of the 2009 draft. Adams has known only the Cardinals organization during his time in the majors. All of that could well come to an end soon as the Cardinals are rumored to be listening to offers.
Listening to offers? The St. Louis Cardinals might have held onto Adams just a little too long. It would be great to have already found a suitor for Adams but it appears, since Mozeliak is listening to offers, that a satisfied suitor is more difficult to find. I say this since it was rumored last season that the Cardinals were shopping Adams.
Let’s take a quick look at Adams’ Cardinals career. Big City as he is called was drafted in 2009 and sent to rookie-A level where he appeared in 245 at-bats and posted a slash line of .355/.400/.547. If these were MLB stats today, every single team would do more than listen on Adams.
Did the stats hold true? In 2010 he was promoted to single-A where he appeared in 464 at-bats and posted a slash of .310/.355/.541. Again, this left-handed first baseman slugger would have offers left and right with stats like this.
2011 saw Adams climb to AA (he played in fall ball in 2011 too; included in these numbers) where he appeared in 543 at-bats. He posted a slash line of .293/.342/.552. AAA welcomed Adams in 2012, appeared in 258 at-bats before promoting to the MLB. In AAA he posted a slash of .329/.362/.624. Wow, right?!
Matt promoted to the Majors in May of 2012 at the age of 23. He appeared that season in eighty-six at-bats posting a .244/.286/.384 slash line. These numbers were foreshadowing of what was to come but the organization held onto high hopes for this slugger. His minor league numbers indicated great hope. Adams was sent back to AAA in June of 2012.
Before we dive into his return to the majors and his major stats, we should pause to recognize the number of injuries that Big City faced. He was first injured and sidelined in June of 2011 during that season. He was sidelined from June 5 to June 24 of that season.
His second DL-stint came on July 1 of 2012 and lasted until July 16. That season saw a second trip to the DL on August 14 and lasted until September 4. This was the 2012 season that saw Adams bounce back and forth between AAA and MLB. After he recovered that season, he was recalled to St. Louis that October.
But wait, there’s more… On April 26, 2013, Matt Adams again visited disabled-list-town with a strained right oblique. This stint lasted until May 3 when he was sent on a rehab assignment to Springfield (the Cardinals AA affiliate). Adams was reactivated on May 7 but then back to the DL a year later on May 31, 2014 this time with left calf tightness.
In 2014, Adams did a rehab visit to the Memphis Redbirds (the AAA-affiliate of the Cardinals). In 2015, Adams was again sidelined with injury in May. This visit was thanks to a strained right quad that eventually turned into a torn right quad sending him to the 60-day DL on June 5, 2015. He was thought to be done for the season but returned in September of 2015.
I wish I could say that Big Kitty (another of his nicknames) stayed healthy but we all know that just isn’t the case. In August of 2016, this past season, Adams visited the disabled list again but this time due to left shoulder inflammation. He again rehabbed in Memphis and returned to MLB service in September.
Back to the stats… During his 2013 MLB service, Adams appeared in 296 at-bats posting a .284/.335/.503 highlighting the impact of his injury. In 2014, he appeared in 527 MLB at-bats posting a .288/.321/.457. During his rehab of 2014 in AAA, Adams appeared in fifteen at-bats posting a .200/.200/.267 slash.
2015 was a season in which Adams spent entirely with the St. Louis Cardinals at the majors. In his limited 175 at-bats (the season was injury-shortened remember; see above) he posted a .240/.280/.377 slash line.
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2016 was to be his rebound season and one that he had hoped to avoid injury. As I showed above, however, this was not the case. Statistically speaking, Adams posted a slash line of .249/.309/.471 in 297 major league at-bats and a slash line of .188/.350/.438 in his limited sixteen at-bats during his rehab in AAA.
Let’s cut to the chase, Adams’ stats haven’t been all that great save his early-career ones. Was the decline due to injury or ability? The St. Louis Cardinals organization had hoped that the statistical decline was due in large part to injury and had continued to ride the storm in hopes that Adams would miraculously snap out of the stat slumps.
What this hasn’t yet panned out, are the Cardinals wise to listen to offers and cut bait? Many have urged this and I count myself in this group. That said, are other teams actually interested in a player with these stats? Would offers any better than minor-league deals face Adams?
One thing that might attract other teams is his team control: Adams is under team control until 2019. Adams is currently going year-to-year with the Cardinals due to his arbitration eligibility. So the question that I find myself asking over and over again is this: who would realistically want Adams?
My best guess is that some American League team could hold interest in a left-handed power threat. Let’s be honest here, Adams certainly is a threat but just isn’t realized too often. Please, Mozeliak, listen hard to offers and find a suitor or otherwise Adams might ride the pine more in 2017 than anything else for the Cardinals.