The St. Louis Cardinals need help on the left side of the bench and have made the call down to AAA Memphis for outfielder Lars Nootbaar.
The St. Louis Cardinals have needed a spark on offense, ranking in the bottom half of the league in most offensive categories. They have tried different players and different versions of the lineup to no avail, so they decided to bring up a player that the fanbase has been wanting to see for most of the season.
On Tuesday, the Cardinals announced that they are calling up outfielder Lars Nootbaar and optioned outfielder Lane Thomas to Triple-A Memphis. To make room on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Bernardo Flores Jr. was designated for assignment.
The move to option Thomas was something that the Cardinals had to do. He has struggled mightily, hitting .104/.259/.125 in 48 at-bats, striking out in 17 of them. The team is hopeful that he can contribute at some point, but his struggles warrant an extended stint in the minors. If he doesn’t turn it around, there is a realistic possibility his days with the Cardinals are numbered.
But the decision to activate Nootbaar, 23, was met with immediate praise, not just because of his elite name, but because he can contribute meaningful at-bats at the major-league level. He hit .329/.430/.557 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 79 at-bats in Triple-A.
Nootbaar will come in and step in as the Cardinals No. 4 outfielder. He has experience at first base, so he can spell Paul Goldschmidt if he needs a day off, and also be a quality option off the bench late in games.
If Nootbaar performs well, and there is every reason to believe that he will, he could stay with the Cardinals the rest of the season and fight his way for more playing time. For now, however, he provides something that Thomas did not: hope and upside.
For a Cardinals team that has been as inconsistent as any team in baseball, they sure could use it.