St. Louis Cardinals: Paul DeJong is audition for a trade
The St. Louis Cardinals have a gluttony of middle infielders and soon must make decisions on whether to option, DFA, or trade at least one of these gluttonous names.
The St. Louis Cardinals seem to be a club intent on overflowing particular positions on the field. First it was outfield positions, and now it seems that Mozeliak- or someone- wants to overflow the infield. As of today, Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals are carrying four infielders for three positions with another soon returning from the disabled list.
To get a better grasp on this, let’s look at these names. The St. Louis Cardinals are regularly staffing the infield positions as such: Jedd Gyorko at third, Aledmys Diaz at short stop, and Paul DeJong at second base. This leaves the out-of-options Greg Garcia manning the bench and filling in as needed.
While “holding down the fort,” as the saying goes, these names are not lighting the world on fire. Add to this, the fact that the purported everyday second baseman, Kolten Wong, will soon be returning from the disabled list and you have yourself a full plate of middle infielders.
Once Wong returns, what happens to the other names? Gyorko has held third base well for the Cardinals and I don’t really look for him to move unless the organization realizes they may need to shop him for great value. Gyorko, while having cooled a bit, carries a slash of .293/.346/.507.
Aledmys Diaz, to his credit, came out of the gate extremely well last season. This season has been a bit of a sophomore slump. His current slash is .262/.296/.404. The biggest disappointed with Diaz is his incredibly high number of errors– five to be exact. If the Cards decided to sell Gyorko, could Diaz slide to third? He has played third in 107 games in the minors…
Greg Garcia is the quintessential backup, scrappy player. I like him a lot as has been reflected in several of my articles here at Redbird Rants.
Garcia, however, is out of options. Should the St. Louis Cardinals believe the time has come to move on from Garcia, they cannot send him to the minors. Garcia is carrying a slash of .206/.330/.278 in ninety-seven at-bats. While serving as an adequate backup, Garcia isn’t likely to make anyone’s starting lineup.
Garcia, by the way, is under team control until 2022 and isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2019. His current one-year contract has him earning only $548k which is a fairly inexpensive bench option. It would certainly be a departure for Mozeliak to send a controlled player packing, but this season certainly needs some departures.
This brings us then to the young Paul DeJong. I happen to like DeJong a lot too. His current slash sits at .265/.275/.500 in sixty-eight at-bats. Here’s the deal on DeJong: this is currently his second time having been called up this season. He received this call-up to fill-in for the injured Wong, but he also received this call-up to audition for a trade. To me, it is as simple as that.
DeJong is young which many teams will want. DeJong still has- as of today- his rookie status intact. DeJong shows great promise and could be classified as a prospect with major-league-ready skills. I believe these things make him the first candidate for a trade.
Can he garner the St. Louis Cardinals a load in return? Not alone, in my opinion, but packaged with one or two other names (perhaps other lesser-known prospects), DeJong could well serve a trade and help the St. Louis Cardinals improve.
Let me be clear too by saying that I’m not sure the DeJong would be a name that a contending team would desire in 2017, but should the St. Louis Cardinals shop for arms or bats from non-contending 2017 teams- say the Orioles- then I believe that Paul would be a name of interest for them.
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In other words, with the recent injuries to the likes of Orioles short stop J.J. Hardy, DeJong might look really nice with his abilities to play short stop and second base. This could then release the Orioles to negotiate a trade for Manny Machado. The St. Louis Cardinals AND the Baltimore Orioles would improve if this deal could be made. Yes, the Cards would need to send others with DeJong but I think that is in the realm of reality and should happen.
Bottom line for me is this: Wong will return and MUST slot in as the everyday second baseman. The Cardinals need to improve beyond this season and one spot for improvement could be third base and Machado is a name we have all kicked around for a while and one that could add value to the batting lineup.
What do you think? Could this happen? Should this happen? Let me know on Twitter and thanks for reading!