Despite winning six of their last ten games (entering play Tuesday) and climbing to within 3.5 games of the first place Milwaukee Brewers there are still plenty of questions facing the St. Louis Cardinals offense. The group has generally underperformed on the season to date, but there doesn’t appear to be any concern stemming from the team’s front office. GM John Mozeliak and company are just simply in “no rush” to make any moves.
Allen Craig (.226/.281/.354) and Peter Bourjos (.230/.309/.356) are batting well below their career averages. Matt Carpenter (.265/.371/.324) and Matt Holliday (.267/.361/.370) have lost their power production with just three home runs between them. Kolten Wong should be better than his .256/.315/.305 line suggests. Jon Jay (.267/.344/.372) is the only player on the bench who’s offering any semblance of production.
Things will get better in St. Louis and the team has a wealth of talent sitting in their upper minor leagues that will eventually step in and help.
The Cardinals were expecting to have some holes to fill in their lineup following the departure of Carlos Beltran as a free agent this past offseason, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes in his latest column. The team expected to be able to counter some of that with the addition of Matt Adams to the everyday lineup (and by moving Craig to right field full time in order to facilitate such a move). Adams has done his part, to his credit, as he’s hitting .309/.322/.455 on the year with a team leading 14 doubles. Craig’s struggles, however, haven’t helped things.
Some would expect the Cardinals’ front office to be looking to make a move, even though the season is hardly more than a quarter of the way through. The team has options, of course. There is an outfield full of talent down in Triple-A that could potentially make a difference in the lineup. The organization also has a host of prospects they could potentially move in order to bring in an impact bat. But is there a need to do so?
Common sense would suggest no. Oscar Taveras, Randall Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty could all make a difference in the Cardinals lineup if only the team had room to play them. Holliday is entrenched in left field and under contract for two more seasons (plus there is a team option for a third). Craig is under contract through 2017, but moving him back to first base would push Adams from the lineup. Bourjos was acquired just this past offseason (along with Grichuk) with the intent on leveraging his solid defense in center field. There is no obvious place to play one of the team’s outfield prospects.
Factor in Wong and a host of young power arms and the Cardinals depth rivals that of any organization right now. Another month from now it could be feasible to see them starting to consider a move of some kind, but even then there are no guarantees and much will depend on whether these same struggling players have been able to turn things around. Should their minor leaguers continue to produce at a high level they could potentially force Mozeliak’s hand, but it is far more likely that they push their way into the lineup rather than onto the trading block.
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