Cardinals: John Mozeliak’s comments on Paul DeJong are concerning

Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals up to bat against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on April 16, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals up to bat against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on April 16, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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Despite having a terrible 2022 season, John Mozeliak had some optimism with shortstop Paul DeJong.

The St. Louis Cardinals decided to roll with shortstops Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa to begin their 2022 season, and very quickly moved away from both players in favor of Tommy Edman.

Sosa is now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies (and made the final out against St. Louis in the Wild Card Round). DeJong remains on the roster but has a brutal 2022 season, slashing just .157/.245/.286 with 6 HR and 25 RBI in 77 games for the Cardinals. This has led many to believe he has played his last game for St. Louis.

Based on comments from President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, that may not be the case. In Rick Hummel’s story on DeJong in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is quoted as saying the following.

"“I think everybody would agree that there’s a level of frustration with the year (by DeJong), but there’s also a little bit of optimism — because you did see it for two weeks. The most important element in all of this is: What is the offseason going to look like for him? And does he have a strategy to get himself where he needs to be on a consistent level? Our staff is certainly going to be challenged coming up with that curriculum. And then you have to hope he’s willing to buy into it and try it.”"

Now, these are not raving reviews from the top St. Louis executive, but they do indicate a willingness to see what DeJong can provide the club in 2023. DeJong will make $9 million next season, so releasing him would be an expensive goodbye. But is it really worth having him in St. Louis another season?

This could totally be a play to keep any trade value that DeJong may hold around the league, but it’s likely that at best the Cardinals would have to eat most of his salary to receive a low level prospect either way.

With Edman, Brendan Donovan, and Nolan Gorman all needing roster spots in 2023, the Cardinals 26-man roster does not have room to gamble on DeJong finally finding himself. DeJong himself indicated he needs more at-bats to fix his swing, and St. Louis can not give him 400+ ABs with the production he had last season.

Instead, St. Louis would be wise to invest in a veteran shortstop instead, giving them a reliable backup option to Edman rather than rolling out DeJong whenever he’s needed.

We’ll monitor this story throughout the off-season, but as of right now, it looks like DeJong is going to be a Cardinal in 2023.

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