The St. Louis Cardinals placed their third baseman on the disabled list joining two of their pitchers on Sunday. Will he ever return to normal?
The St. Louis Cardinals announced that Jedd Gyorko would hit the disabled list on Sunday, August 27 following a hamstring strain suffered on Saturday night. This disabled list stint makes his fourth of his young career.
St. Louis Cardinals GM Mike Girsch reported on Sunday that Gyorko would need just a few weeks and that his season/career are NOT over. But what IF they are finished? Let’s take a SPECULATIVE look at how the St. Louis Cardinals might respond.
IF Gyorko cannot return, the St. Louis Cardinals could see Matt Carpenter move back across the diamond and play third base. This move would allow the call-up of Luke Voit to play every day while also keeping Carpenter in the lineup.
For Sunday’s game, the St. Louis Cardinals have slotted Greg Garcia at third. Garcia is a scrappy player but he might not have quite the numbers of Carpenter at third. Let’s take a look.
First, these are Carpenter’s numbers at third base:
And these are Garcia’s numbers at third:
Of these two, having them platoon the position would make great sense should Gyorko never return.
Also of great interest is the idea that Aledmys Diaz has played third several times during his demotion to Memphis this season. In these starts (six games), Diaz has posted a 1.000 fielding percentage and an RF/9 of 2.60. Diaz could be the solution at third long-term while not displacing slugger Paul DeJong from short stop.
Speaking of DeJong, Paul has appeared at third base as well and could see himself sliding over to the spot should the St. Louis Cardinals need this option. DeJong appeared in 177 games in his career (minor league) with a .938 fielding percentage and an RF/9 of 2.44.
If we look at just these names/numbers, we can rank the third basemen based on RF/9 in this order to replace Gyorko IF he does not return: Diaz, DeJong, Carpenter, and Garcia. And yet, Garcia gets the first start during the first absence of Gyorko (shaking my head).
But wait, what about Patrick Wisdom in AAA? The likelihood is that Wisdom may be included in the expanded roster come September. If this is the case, we can toss his numbers into the mix as potential replacements for Gyorko.
Here’s a look at his numbers at third:
|Minors (6 seasons)||Minors||3B||555||440||4760.0||1489||372||1026||91||96||.939||2.64||2.52|
Adding in his RF/9, the ranking list looks like this: Wisdom, Diaz, DeJong, Carpenter, and Garcia. And I say again that Garcia got the first start at third in Gyorko’s absence. Wouldn’t it make more sense to call up Wisdom than Voit? Does Voit’s offensive numbers out-shine Wisdom’s numbers?
To his credit, Voit has batted .253/.323/.460 in his 87 MLB at-bats in 2017. Wisdom, having not recorded a single at-bat for the MLB St. Louis Cardinals, has recorded a .244/.312/.506 for Memphis this season. Seeing these numbers, I don’t begrudge the call-up choice.
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With limited choices of players having cleared waivers, the Cardinals could have to wait until the offseason to replace Gyorko should he fail to return from this injury (reminder: this is a worst-case scenario, speculative piece). If this is the case, I fully expect the St. Louis Cardinals will set their sights on Josh Donaldson.
In fact, let me jump to the chase, whether Gyorko returns or not, I think the St. Louis Cardinals would be fools if they fail to set their sights on Donaldson and/or Manny Machado during the offseason. Gyorko- should he return (which he will)- can slide over to second and platoon there with Kolten Wong while also platooning at first with Carpenter.
The St. Louis Cardinals will need to improve on the disappointing 2017 by adding someone like Donaldson or Machado. It could also help if Gyorko returns to the form he held in May of 2017.
What do you think? Can the St. Louis Cardinals survive 10 days without Gyorko? Does it make any difference to this disappointing season one way or the other? Thanks for reading!