Roster Retribution

Cardinal Nation got quite a shock last night when it was announced that Kolten Wong and Shane Robinson had been optioned to AAA Memphis and Randal Grichuk and Greg Garcia had been called up to St. Louis.  The shock was not so much about the call ups as it was about the send downs, or one send down at least.  Kolten Wong being sent down was rather disturbing to say the least.  Yes, he has struggled at the plate of late, but he still is hands down the best 2nd baseman in the Cardinal organization, and it seems as though he should be given the opportunity to continue to play through his struggles as some of his also struggling teammates have been allowed to do.

Wong is currently batting .225, which though not good, is not as bad as several of his teammates.  Jhonny Peralta, Allen Craig, Peter Bourjos, Daniel Descalso, and Mark Ellis are all hitting below .200.  Peralta has 6 home runs, and has enough service time accrued that he couldn’t be sent down anyway;  same for Mark Ellis.  The others all have option years remaining and could technically be sent down as well.  It wouldn’t make sense to send Craig down, and Bourjos has played so sporadically that sending him down wouldn’t help much, because he wouldn’t get much playing time in Memphis either, with Taveras, Piscotty, Butler, Pham and now Robinson all vying for playing time as well.

The truly head scratching thing about this is that Daniel Descalso still remains on the roster, while the much better hitting and fielding Wong is gone.  Daniel Descalso is hitting .100 and is a poor fielder to boot.  He has no skills, other than a decent throwing arm, to recommend him.  Yet he remains taking up a space on the roster that could be better utilized by someone with more talent.  Descalso also has all 3 of his option years remaining, so sending him down would not create a problem.  With 3 years of service time he would have to go on waivers, but they are revocable, and seriously, what team would take him?  It would have to be a team desperate for a utility infielder with no talent.  Even if some team did take him, the Cardinals would not be losing anything. He really is that bad.

So, the team that John Mozeliak claimed he had “improved defensively”, now has 2/3rds of that improvement either gone, in the case of Wong, or culturing penicillin on the bench, in the case of Bourjos.  There goes all the speed too.  What a waste.

I have to wonder where all this came from all of a sudden.  Just Friday, Mozeliak told Jim Hayes of Fox Sports Midwest that roster changes at this time were premature, and that the young players were better off playing every day in Memphis.  What changed?  The offense showed signs of life in Sunday’s game, so I fail to see the sense of urgency from Friday to Sunday.  If Mozeliak believed the offense needed the jolt this soon, what accounts for his comments in Friday’s interview?  I have a lot of respect for Mozeliak, but it seems like talking out of both sides of his mouth.  I now have to wonder about his credibility in the future.

It seems like unnecessary panic to me.  I get that Grichuk and Garcia are hitting in Memphis, but it has been less than a month, and big league pitching is a whole lot different than AAA pitching.  Maybe they will both do well, but then what?  How long will Wong have to stay down?  Will we continue to be subjected to Daniel Descalso?  Will CF playing time now be apportioned among three players or will Bourjos just be permanently cemented to the bench?  Is it a good thing for Grichuk to not play everyday?  I have many thoughts jumbling through my mind and most of them are not good.

Perhaps this is all just a temporary move to add some offense for the Milwaukee series and the tough road trip after that.  I hope that is the case and not an omen of a major roster shakeup so early in the season.  Making permanent roster decisions based on less than a month of play seems like a drastic overreaction; even more so because the young players at Memphis haven’t had a single AB at the major league level.

I have never been a fan of playing musical chairs with lineups, and lately Mike Matheny has been making me dizzy with all of his tinkering.  I think the tinkering might do more harm than good in the long run.   Expecting players to perform like trained monkeys in such small amounts of plate appearances, to me, is short sighted and wrong.  Hit .3oo in a couple dozen chances or you’re done seems to be the theme, at least for some players.  That’s a lot of pressure to put on guys.  I just don’t like it.

I am an unhappy fan right now.  Not that John Mozeliak or Mike Matheny need to be concerned about what I think, but I don’t like any of this.  Not one bit.  Panic tends not to end well.  We shall see.


Thank you for reading.

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1 Comment

  1. BW52

     /  April 29, 2014

    I also wonder why Descalso is still around.I get the veteran presence but come on Matheny.DD should go down and Wong should be in STLou.Could be that Wong gets 10 days to get better and Descalso sees Me mphis



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