A struggling St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has been sent down to AAA to get right. How does the team adjust moving forward?
It’s never fun to see players that are supposed to be cornerpieces of the franchise struggle for long periods of time. It’s also never fun to see a player who clearly needs a minor league reset continue to stay on the active roster. Unfortunately for the St. Louis Cardinals, that’s exactly what they have seen with their highly marketed outfielder, Harrison Bader.
Coming into the year, Bader had unveiled the new blue uniforms over the offseason, had been part of a lot of the team’s marketing, and was viewed as the center fielder for now and the future. As we have seen with guys like Randall Grichuk, Kolten Wong and more, sometimes those realities take a bit of a jump start.
Bader is currently only hitting .195/.309/.339 with just six homers, six stolen bases, and an OPS+ of 73. For a guy who Jim Edmonds predicted could be a 30/30 player, that’s obviously a huge disappointment. While his defensive play has still been great, the team absolutely needs more on the offensive side. One quick aside, to show how valuable his defense has been, while he’s been 27% below average offensively, his bWAR is still 1.2, so one could argue his overall value isn’ bad.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals: Why St. Louis should make Sean Murphy their next catcher
- Predictions for the St. Louis Cardinals at the Winter Meetings
- Cardinals: Putting together a trade for Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds
- Cardinals: 3 insider insights as St. Louis approach the Winter Meetings
- St. Louis Cardinals: 3 free agent bench options to consider
It’s not like the team didn’t give him every chance in the world to figure his swing out before they sent him back down as he has 221 AB’s on the year and over his last 28 days, he is batting .154 with a .455 OPS. Since MAY 1ST, THREE MONTHS AGO, Bader is batting .186 with a .598 OPS. He has had plenty of chances to find his swing and it hasn’t happened.
It’s been a bad year, but lot’s of players have down years and bounce back later down their careers. This is absolutely the right move for Bader, and in the same situation as Matt Carpenter, I really hope Bader doesn’t rejoin the MLB roster until he looks right at the plate.
As I mentioned earlier, Randall Grichuk and Kolten Wong both had to go back to the Minors multiple times and ended up being just fine. Don’t freak out long term yet, just know that a new coach in Bader’s ear is best for him right now.
To replace Bader, the Cardinals called up Lane Thomas, who is now in his fourth stint this year. The outfielder had been having a down year after a breakout last year, but he has been red hot since the Cardinals last sent him down at the beginning of July. In July, he is hitting .347/.388/.667 with six homers and 19 RBI’s over 75 AB’s. This included a three-homer game, but he is a hot-hitting prospect that might provide some spark if he gets into the lineup.
It may be another short stint for Thomas as Ozuna is due to come off the IL this coming weekend.
This is a painful release to get Bader where he needs to be to get right for the long term. I would expect he will be back in the Majors at some point this year, but for now, Bader’s roster spot can be given to a more productive player and he can join AAA Memphis to get himself right.