How the Cardinals could have avoided their Paul DeJong problem

Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two run home run off Bryan Shaw #27 of the Cleveland Indians during the seventh inning at Progressive Field on July 27, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two run home run off Bryan Shaw #27 of the Cleveland Indians during the seventh inning at Progressive Field on July 27, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals have sent Paul DeJong down to the minor leagues. In doing so, have they admitted a failure?

In a surprising move, the St. Louis Cardinals sent shortstop Paul DeJong to the minor leagues. It was a move that needed to be done. Frankly, DeJong has struggled for several seasons now and the start of the 2022 season was more of the same. Still, it was surprising that the team was willing to send him down.

The Cardinals called up Kramer Robertson to replace DeJong on the major league roster, thus emphasizing the situation the team is in with regards to the shortstop position. They have quantity to throw at the position such as Edmundo Sosa, Brendan Donovan, and now Robertson. But those three players, while valuable and talented, are more suited to be utility players or depth.

The Cardinals could have avoided this. The free agent class for shortstops this most recent offseason was deep and talented and they could have explored a meaningful upgrade. Many fans had their fingers crossed for a big addition at shortstop. That didn’t happen and instead fans were greeted with the narrative that DeJong was expected to have a bounce back season. That hasn’t happened.

DeJong, hitting only .130 at the time of his demotion, was clearly struggling. His OPS+ is only 25, if you prefer that stat over traditional batting average.

Has the front office admitted failure with Paul DeJong and their optimistic outlook for the shortstop position?

There is still time for DeJong to turn it around and prove that he’s the starting shortstop for the Cardinals. Unless that happens quickly and dramatically, however, it appears as if his time as the starting shortstop for the team is over.

When DeJong first came up to the major leagues in 2017, he showed real potential and had the look of a consistent all-star at shortstop. It hasn’t worked out that way. Maybe the front office and management have come to the conclusion that DeJong is not the answer for the organization at shortstop. It’ll be interesting to see what the team does at this position moving forward long-term.

Regardless of what the rest of the 2022 season has in store, and beyond this season as well, the Cardinals could have avoided this situation by acquiring an upgrade last offseason and not holding their breath that Paul DeJong would bounce back.

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