St. Louis Cardinals: Time to Say Goodbye to Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez?


As spring training draws to a close, the St. Louis Cardinals will have to decide between keeping Tommy Pham or Jose Martinez on the roster. Would it be better if the decision was to say goodbye to them both?

The St. Louis Cardinals are set to kick off the 2017 season one week from this coming Sunday. Thank goodness, right? At that time, the organization will need to make a decision on whether to keep Tommy Pham or Jose Martinez as the fourth outfielder.

We at Redbird Rants have written much about the fourth outfielder battle. I personally have examined the internal options and have gone so far as to compare the likes of Pham to Martinez and even now-snooze-fest Todd Cunningham. At the end of the day, the St. Louis Cardinals will need to make a decision.

Today, my cousin- who has spurred many article ideas for me- sent me a text asking who I would keep on the roster between Pham and Martinez. While I voted for Martinez, he voted for Pham. According to him, Martinez is this year’s Jeremy Hazelbaker. According to him, Pham is the better choice to make the roster because he has proven he can hit MLB pitchers and can play center.

Let’s take a quick minute to jump out and review the spring stats at the conclusion of today’s game.  At the conclusion of today’s game, Jose Martinez has appeared in forty at-bats and owns a slash of .400/.510/.825. At the conclusion of today’s game, Pham has appeared in thirty-nine at-bats and owns a slash of .231/.348/.308.

Pham has proven he can hit MLB pitching? Really?

Look, I’ll be honest that I’m a big Jose Martinez fan. I like him in the outfield and prefer him over Pham. I like that he can play first base while Pham cannot. True, Pham is far more likely to backup center (while Martinez is not so likely to do so), but don’t we have Randal Grichuk on the squad to spell that backup?

Here’s the real shocker: if it were left to me, I would prefer that these bodies left for other pastures in exchange for some proven talent. I use this phrase purposefully. Proven talent is not something that I would ascribe to either of these players.

I think that Pham has proven that he is almost a proven defender in the outfield but I’m not convinced he is a proven batter. I think that Martinez has proven that he is almost a proven bat at the plate, but I’m not convinced he is a proven defender. By the way, this paragraph has been brought to you by the “proven” department.

So here’s my assertion: would the St. Louis Cardinals be better-suited if they had a different name as the fourth outfielder? Would someone like Angel Pagan (not yet on a team for 2017) be a better name for this role?

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Pagan, in thirty-five at-bats in the World Baseball Classic owned a slash of .286/.324/.371. In this regard, Pagan is a slight upgrade over Pham. For his career, Pagan owns a slash of .280/.330/.408 and has been an above-average outfielder. Could he spell a backup role replacing Pham and Martinez?

His not being signed may indicate some issues (e.g. injury issues haunting from his past) but his performance in the WBC should have raised his value. That said, could or should the St. Louis Cardinals jump on the Pagan train?

I wanted to find other options to fill this role similar to Angel Pagan but, in all honesty, there just isn’t anything out there. With this admitted, maybe the St. Louis Cardinals are better to just keep who they have.

If we go with that line of thinking then, I would much rather start the season with Martinez in the majors until Pham starts tearing up the bat in Memphis. If this happens, then swap the two. If an injury happens, then carry them both. Or… at that time go shopping.

Next: Cardinals Pitching Questions

At the end of the day, I believe that having both of these names on the roster adds value rather than detracts from it. If I’m a betting man, however, I bet that one or both will be gone by the trade deadline as other young names like Harrison Bader could spell their departure.