What will be the postseason roles for Paul DeJong, Jack Flaherty, and Adam Wainwright?
This week, the St. Louis Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol and his coaching staff will be making tough decisions on the postseason roster for the 2022 NL Central Champs. Questions will need to answered across the board for the best of three Wildcard round.
Some of the questions will be: What will be the rotation for the three games? Will Tyler O’Neill and Jordan Hicks be ready in time for the Wild Card round? Will Steven Matz be in the bullpen? Who will make up the bench?
But three of the most difficult decisions for Oliver Marmol will be the postseason roles for Paul DeJong. Jack Flaherty, and Adam Wainwright. Needless to say, a miscue of judgement with any of these three, could be fatal for the Cardinals in the short Wild Card Series.
Quite frankly, Paul DeJong has become this year’s Matt Carpenter. With DeJong’s year long struggles at the plate, media and fans have both questioned his continued presence on the active roster.
Bernie Mikolas calls DeJong’s continued presence on the active roster, “payroll politics. That’s as good and accurate description I’ve heard.
DeJong will earn $6 million this year and still owed a guaranteed salary of $9 million next year. The Cardinal front office has shown it’s reluctance to release or move players they owe substantial money. We all remember Matt Carpenter.
A case could be made that DeJong’s defense is enough reason to keep him on the postseason roster. To be fair, he is a solid defensive shortstop. Currently his Outs Above Average(OAA) at shortstop is at 5. Certainly decent.
The argument of having DeJong on the roster is the ability to use him for late innings defense. Tommy Edman usually is then moved to second, where his OAA is 8, fifth in all of baseball. Without Edman at second, the main defensive choice left to Marmol would be Brendon Donovan, who has an OAA of -3 at second.
But what is the trade off? DeJong currently is hitting a slash line of .153/.241/.287. In 21 games since the first of September, it’ gotten worse and fallen to .125/.186/.150.
With the Cardinals currently struggling to put up runs, keeping DeJong on the postseason roster for his defense, seems a luxury at this point they can’t afford.