There have been demands from longtime MLB voices that the St. Louis Cardinals should option Genesis Cabrera. Should they?
Thursday night’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies revealed a significant flaw in Major League Baseball’s rules, with reliever Genesis Cabrera hitting Bryce Harper (nose/face) and Didi Gregorius (ribs) with consecutive pitches.
Now, the Cardinals must figure out what to do with Cabrera. Do they keep him on the major-league roster? Do they option him to the alternate site to get his control back? There have been many opinions, including from Jon Heyman of MLB Network, that the Cardinals should option Cabrera to the minors since “he’s not competent enough to be in the majors at this point.”
The smart move for the Cardinals, however, may be to play it out with Cabrera. Entering Wednesday, he had hit only two of 123 batters faced dating back to last year. He had a 2.61 ERA in 10. 1 innings this season, allowing only six hits while striking out 12 and walking four batters.
Saying that Cabrera, 24, is not competent may be a bit extreme. He has shown that he can be an effective major-league pitcher and has been in the majors since his age-22 season in 2019, a sign that he is advanced for a pitcher his age.
But even if the Cardinals wanted to option Cabrera, they may not be able to considering they are in the middle of a 17 consecutive game stretch. They need all the pitchers possible to get through this stretch and Cabrera has proven to be one of their most dependable bullpen arms, evidenced by his heavy workload to begin the season (he is tied for the second most innings pitched by any of their relievers this season).
So while Thursday night was clearly not his best showing, the Cardinals should not overreact by optioning Cabrera. They need him and his previous sample size clearly show that it was an anomaly, not the start of something more to come.