In a report by Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com, the St. Louis Cardinals will option Kolten Wong and Shane Robinson to Triple-A Memphis. The corresponding move will be to promote Randal Grichuk and Greg Garcia, both of whom could make their MLB debuts as the Cards will play host to Milwaukee for a trio of games beginning this evening.
And the Cardinals go into this series 5.5 games behind the Brewers in the National League Central.
The transactions are an effort to kickstart the Redbirds offense. Last season, St. Louis led the entire NL in runs per game (4.83) and on-base percentage (.332). They were second in batting average (.269), a mere point behind league-leading Colorado. After their first 25 games of this season, the Cards are next to last in runs per game (3.28) and are below league average in BA (.240), OBP (.308), and SLG (.342).
After crafting a slashline of .303/.369/.466 with 10 HR, 45 RBI and 68 runs scored, it was believed that Wong would take over as the Cardinals everyday second baseman for the 2014 season. It also afforded a move back to third base for Matt Carpenter, his more natural position. This belief and switch also paved the way for St. Louis to deal David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Peter Bourjos and Grichuk.
But Wong has struggled at the plate this season (.225/.276/.268, 0 HR, 5 RBI) and has been losing playing time to off-season signee Mark Ellis. Ellis is healthy and more than capable of playing the position. Garcia is more than capable with his bat as he was hitting .277 with a OBP of .362 in Triple-A. He added 5 HR and 14 RBI.
Bourjos himself has seen struggles with a bat in his hand (.163/.241/.265), as has Allen Craig (.174/.222/.239), and this could pave the way for Grichuk receiving a decent amount of playing time. With Memphis, Grichuk’s slashline was .313/.356/.542 with 3 HR and 17 RBI. It helps manager Mike Matheny in that Grichuk can play all three outfield positions as well.
If Ellis, Grichuk and Garcia can lend some extra punch to a lackluster Cards offense, St. Louis could once again be the team looking down upon the rest of the NL Central.