Despite an entire fanbase giving up on him, Paul DeJong has proven the doubters wrong in 2023
I was one of them.
In just 11 games this year, he already has a higher WAR than Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan. He is slashing .324/.375/.568 while playing great defense at shortstop. In 49 at-bats during his rehab resignment, he slashed .302/.388/.512 as well. DeJong has made drastic changes to his swing and approach at the plate, and it seems to be paying off.
Am I saying that DeJong is all the way back and is now the Cardinals' best middle infielder? No. But he's far from the kind of player that needs DFA'd or traded away for scrap metal. DeJong is a valuable piece for this Cardinals' team, and their patience with him is actually paying off.
In all reality, their patience made much more sense than people gave them credit for. I talked about this before the season, but they had very little to "lose" by allowing him to make their roster as the backup infielder. With Edman, Donovan, and Nolan Gorman on the team, the club didn't need to use DeJong to win games, but anything he could provide them was gravy for what they were doing.
Now he's making an argument to be playing just as much as Edman and Donovan are. Should an injury pop up with any of the Cardinals' middle infielders, they now have a really productive option waiting in the wings.
If three weeks go by and DeJong goes through an extreme slump, the Cardinals' can decide if it's worth having him on the roster. But again, there really isn't much to lose by keeping him in the organization this year, but so far, there has been a ton to be gained.