Evaluating Paul DeJong’s future with the St. Louis Cardinals. It looks bleak, and his major-league future may end up being with a different team.
When the St. Louis Cardinals optioned Paul DeJong to Triple-A Memphis, the domino effect immediately followed. Tommy Edman transitioned from second base to shortstop while top infield prospect Nolan Gorman took over at second.
DeJong, meanwhile, was tasked with getting his career back on track in the minors. And even if he does, it’s possible that he has played his last game in a Cardinals uniform.
With Gorman now in the majors, there is simply no room for DeJong. Gorman, 22, has flashed the tantalizing skills that have made both Cardinals and rival executives gush over his abilities, as he is slashing .385/.500/.539 with a 1.039 OPS in his first 16 plate appearances. Perhaps most importantly, he has only struck out twice. It’s a small sample size, of course, but it’s an encouraging start since it is something he struggled with in the minors.
DeJong, meanwhile, has been better in Triple-A, but is still struggling as he’s hitting only .189/.244/.243 with a .487 OPS in 41 plate appearances. He has struck out 11 times, which is 26.8 percent of the time, and that is a number that is far too high. With 1.5 years left on his six-year, $26 million contract, it feels rather improbable that he sees extended time in the majors with St. Louis.
Which makes him a candidate to be traded or even designated for assignment. That said, it’s hard to see another team taking on his contract considering his extensive struggles in the majors, and that would mean that DeJong being DFA’d is the most likely scenario, barring him bouncing back in a big way and Gorman struggling in the majors.
But it’s highly possible that DeJong has played his last game in St. Louis, which would be the latest sign that the Cardinals’ middle infield of the future will feature Edman at shortstop and Gorman at second base.