3:22pm: Wong asked the Post-Dispatch to clarify his earlier comments and emphasized that he’d like to remain a Cardinal. Wong’s full statement is available at this link. Here’s an excerpt:
“I’m not trying to sell my self to any other team. My play speaks for itself and what kind of player I can be. I want to be that player for the Cardinals. If the worst-case scenario comes down, I understand there are a lot of good guys on this team right now. If it’s my time to get moved, it’s my time to get moved. But at the end of the day, I want to be a Cardinal. And that’s the most important thing.”
1:35pm: With Jhonny Peralta set to open the season as the Cardinals’ third baseman, they’ll need to find a place for Jedd Gyorko, who swatted a team-high 30 home runs in 2016. Gyorko could wind up at second base, where the right-handed hitter would platoon with the lefty-swinging Kolten Wong, though the latter made it clear Sunday that he wants no part of a timeshare.
Asked if he’d rather the Cardinals trade him than use him as a part-time player, Wong told Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “One hundred percent. I don’t want to be here wasting my time. I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.”
Wong hasn’t requested a trade – notably, the Cardinals rebuffed at least one interested suitor during the winter – and he indicated he’ll “be ready to do what I gotta do to help the team win.” Still, Wong’s frustrated that the Cardinals might not follow through on general manager John Mozeliak’s offseason plan to get him more second base time this year. In fairness to the Redbirds, though, Wong hasn’t necessarily established himself as a full-time-caliber player since debuting in the majors in 2013. The 26-year-old owns a modest .248/.309/.370 batting line in 1,469 plate appearances, including an even worse .247/.290/.327 in 336 PAs versus same-handed pitchers, and is coming off a year which featured a demotion to Triple-A. Plus, it would behoove the Cardinals to find at-bats for Gyorko, the better offensive player.
While Wong has underwhelmed at the plate, that hasn’t been the case at the keystone, where he has totaled 19 Defensive Runs Saved and put up a 9.0 Ultimate Zone Rating in the majors. Wong’s cognizant of the value he has provided the Cardinals in the field.
“On defense, I’m one of the best second basemen in the league,” he declared. “I believe that and I know that.”
Both Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny agree with Wong, having heaped praise on his defensive skills during the offseason. Of course, Mozeliak was responsible for giving Wong a five-year, $25.5MM extension last March. Wong addressed that deal Sunday and wondered aloud whether he’ll finish the contract in St. Louis, per Frederickson. Regardless, he believes the pact entitles him to a longer leash.
“When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out,” he said. “Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.”
Despite Wong’s displeasure with his current situation, he noted he doesn’t “want to come off as being like bitter or anything” and credited Gyorko for an “amazing” 2016.
He’s not really starting caliber. He had a bad season and should have to work his way back to a starting role. Especially with those splits
I can see where he’s coming from, sine his glove alone should make him a starter.
Eh let’s not go THAT far. Remember we’ve seen that experiment with Brendan Ryan and Pete Kozma and that turned out horribly (albeit different positions).
Wong has a better bat, speed and defensive ability than kozma could dream for.
a career .248 hitter w/a .648 OPS in 1331 ABs
Haha true. My point, though, is that it isn’t always best to play defensive-minded players all the time; they have to be able to hit too.
For the last three years, Wong’s UZR/150 (defensive runs saved per 150 games) is +3.4. Kinsler is +8.5. Pedroia is +13.3. Wong is slightly positive, and far from a “glove plays” situation. In the same time period, he’s -14.9 runs with the bat.
He’s not wrong a player like him should not be on the bench
He’s a career .248 hitter w/a .648 OPS in 1331 ABs
If he wants to play every day he needs to prove it. Bottom line
You’re exactly right. Sorry you hit so bad last year that you even got demoted and now you think you just should be given the starting second base job.
He’s not “Wong”
he ain’t wight, either
Grow up Kolton.
“Don’t f*#k with the Wongs!”
Glad he’s a Jays fan but those guys didn’t get paid until after producing like all stars
I get where he’s coming from, but I’m not sure he should have said all of this in public. He hasn’t proven himself to be a full time player yet. Granted I think Matheny is partially to blame for that since Matheny will bench him for one bad game. I think STL needs to let him play every day. If he is terrible at the plate, then address a platoon situation. The team committed to improved defense. He’s far and away the best defensive infielder on the team. Let him play until he fully proves he shouldn’t be out there.
Let’s put it like this: there was a reason he was sent down to AAA last season. There was a reason why we saw more Jedd Gyorko and less Kolten Wong as the season progressed. Just because he signed a long contract does not mean he is automatically entitled to the starting job.
Look at Allen Craig, for example. The Cardinals did the same thing with him by giving him a sizable contract. Craig performed well below par (which I honestly believe he never fully recovered from that nasty Plantar Fisciitis) and was sent down and then shipped to Boston. Wong needs to remember he still needs to earn the job and that it isn’t handed to him.
It’s a performance based industry. He has been given every opportunity to earn the full time job at second base, but at the end of the day he needs to produce. I seriously doubt that if he is producing day in and day out that he will be sitting the bench or playing in AAA. Given that, I hope he does get off to a good start and becomes a regular member of the starting lineup. He has great skills, I would prefer to see his name in the lineup each day. At the end of the day if he thinks he would get a chance to do better else where, pack your bags and get out of the way. We need players that want to be there and understand that things are not just going to be handed to them because they have a five year deal.
Isnt this the same guy who got demoted last season for not being good?
Yes. Which the article clearly states.
This is also the guy who was demoted in 2014 & 2015 because the rest of the offense wasn’t performing yet he was.
MM has done Wong no favors by playing him 1 or 2 days a week and expecting a player to have a feel for the game.
Wong has done himself no favors by pressing and letting his frustration get the better of him.
MM was forced by Mo last season to let Grichuk have a long run in CF. Prior to that MM was doing that exact same thing to Grichuk as he does to Wong.
Wong is both right and wrong here… he should have addressed this to Mo & MM not a reporter.
But hey sometimes u gotta cut loose with how u feel and live with it.
Guys like Wong should be grateful they crack the big league roster and do their part without complaining. If the team feels he can contribute best at a split playing time, he should deal with it or find a different career. There are plenty of guys behind him who would happily take his spot playing part-time second base.
Was he given a contract? Or did he earn it? Clearly, the Cardinals felt he’d not only improve his already capable defense, but also improve his value at the plate, which hasn’t really done. But it’s not like Kolton can’t do what he needs to improve, he’s still young. However, bringing up Bautista and Donaldson seemed a bit odd, those two have always been expected to be bat first players and I don’t think Kolton is going to 40 HRs a season unless I use the rookie settings in MLB The Show.
Bautista was a flop b4 hooking up with a coach who helped him unlock his potential. Blue Jay’s provided the PT to blossom.
no player can perform if they aren’t on the field
Matheny never gave him that vote of confidence young players need and just when Wong thinks he’s got it… it’s gone. He no doubt should be platooned, but this is the Cards’ fault for announcing he would be the full-time second baseman before spring. I’d be requesting a trade too since management is mind f***ing him
Defence won’t keep you on the field every day in the NL
It worked for Darwin Barney for a couple seasons.
Yeah tanking seasons to get high picks.
Kolten Wong couldn’t hold Javier Baez’ jock strap offensively or defensively, yet the latter hasn’t uttered one complaint in having to share time at 2B with Ben Zobrist. Just saying…
He definitely could defensively. But Zobrist also eclipses Gyorko in every stat under the sun.
Just a crazy idea, but maybe he should try not hitting like hot garbage? We’re talking about an offense/defense situation between him and Gyorko. One hits, the other fields.
Wong was a prospect because he played defense and carried an .833 OPS in the minors. He’s gone from batting .308 in the minors to OBPing .309 in 1500 pas in the majors. Gee, I wonder why they can’t guarantee that you’re in the lineup every day.
Defensively he’s above average. Offensively he is challenged!!! And his base running is pitiful. He continues to get picked off base, the same way he started his career for the last out of the World Series. I feel he thinks he’s better than he really is at the major league level. But…… It is obvious that he is never going to catch a break from the great Matheney.
I bet the Cardinals are more disappointed than Wong. “A little less conversation, a little more action, please.”
Don’t sweat it, Wong. That pasty tub of lard, Gyorko, will be found dead over a bucket of Haagen Daz before the All Star break.
Why with the childish comment?
thor would look better in red
I don’t know how you consider him fat
Way to epitomize the self-entitled attitude of so many Kolton. News flash, you are not Josh or Jose. Hope you get traded soon.
This is why the cardinals can’t have nice things.
Say what? You’re joking right? 10 world titles, 19 pennants and compete every year. Yeah ok
11 World Championships. They win so many You most likely forgot one.
Second best team in the state.
bush league al’ers
Wong is Gordon Beckham 2.0. But Beckham has a decent attitude.
That extension was a big stretch, and it’s turning out to be a mistake by the Cards’ FO.
Gyorkos spring hasn’t been great. Neither has peraltas. And Wong too. Though he’s been better the last week or so.
Greg Garcia though has done well. I think he poses the most immediate threat as I think gyorko will be pressing peralta.
All Wong needs to do is hit. Time share is gonna happen until two of the three solidify a spot. Until that they all will be threatened for less time by Garcia if he keeps playing well. 3 players for 2 spots is fine to manage everyone happy. 4 for 2 it will mean someone sits more than they want.
Best team of the spring runs Greg Garcia out there with gyroko at 3rd. Just barely as peralta Judd and Wong are all struggling
Who does he think he is ?
That’s a horrible attitude to have. You earn your playing time in the majors, just like you earn your job in all walks of life. If I’m underperforming at my job, I wouldn’t ask my boss for a promotion. That’s an entitled brat attitude if I’ve ever seen one. Plus he already got a good chunk of change. Your contract shouldn’t dictate your playing time buddy.
He’s getting traded within the next 3 months
Boy can someone give Wong some cheese to go with that whining of his. Wong is good defensively but his offense his horrible. He should have to prove he is worth his contract. Wong is pathetic when it comes to hitting. I didn’t like his extension when it was announced and I think that the best thing to do is for the cards to designate him for assignment
I love this Cardinals demise! Everything is going south since the Astros scandal..just as I predicted.
Here come all basement dwellers disliking my comment like this is facebook.
Does Kolten Wong honestly believe he’d be better against lefties than Jedd Gyorko?
Loving this cardinals demise just as I predicted.
Now im waiting for dislikes like this is facebook
Demise huh? You might be stretching this story a little.
U forgot witty…w/ur “insightful comment.”
People with 85 OPS for their career don’t really get to complain about not being full timers.
He figures that defense is keeping Heyward on the field in Chicago. It’s really his only reasonable theory as to why he should be starting.
Problem is, I doubt he has much trade value. His contract seems to overvalue his performance so far.
Dude backtracked real quick lol.
Shut up and just play, fool!
If he ever gets rid of that trifling leg kick, he’d probably improve offensively. I hate John Mabry as hitting coach. Dude is whack
He’s used a leg kick long before John Mabry was his hitting coach.
Gyorko is just as good defensively at 2nd, is a league average runner, and hits better than Wong as well. For right now, Wong will be a fine backup at 2nd and 5th OFer.
How about you play better?
I like wong a lot. I don’t think it was very smart for him to talk so candidly as he did. However I don’t think he’s wrong by any means. His glove alone is a massive boost for the team, and is deserving of the starting role. Gyorko needs to platoon at 3rd. They know peralta doesn’t have the offensive and certainly not the defensive ability gyorko has. But he’s one of mathney’s “guys” so he gets a nice cushy job. Wong deserves full time. His bat isn’t fantastic but its not the hump of garbage everyone claims it is. I’ve seen far worse. We need to stop kidding ourselves and accept peralta needs to go.
I like Wong. The problem is that he has been handed everything since they made him a first round draft choice. Now he expects to be handed the second base job but that’s not the way it works in the big leagues. If he can’t earn it the Cardinals have good alternatives between Gyorko and Garcia.
You’ll get your chance when Peralta becomes a free agent you little cry baby.
This is a guy who wouldn’t make it as a Marine or Navy Seal. What a punk!
Because most other ballplayers would really excel in special ops
thor would look better in red
I said we should have traded him for Escobar and Davis to begin when the off-season started. I don’t know what is going on in his head. he needs to be smart and not talk to the media about his frustrations that is good for no one
Wong stinks! Who the hell he thinks he is?? Trade his worthless ass for a bag of balls.
A guy who has been jerked around and benched on a regular basis. You have to let young players play every day to get in a groove and get through their growing pains. Like he said not everyone is mike trout. I remember so many cardinal fans who were trying to run cmart out of town for alexi fricken ramirez! Why? Because omg a young pitcher who was wrongfully sent to the pen where he stayed until July can’t make it more than five innings his stamina is terrible trade him he’s a bust! That’s what so many card fans were saying. Then when he stays in the rotation he becomes our ace without question. For the best fans in sports cards fans sure are quick to try and run players out of town. If anyone should be ran out of town it should be matheny. Mr I never make a mistake so I will never learn or grow as a manager and will still make rookie coaching mistakes even though I have five years of expereince. Forgetting matheny for a minute peralta should be the one riding the pine. He has no upside, is declining, isn’t a great 3b, and is hitting as bad as wong. Unlike wong he is at the tail of his career and the last year of his contract. He has had his time to grow and develop. He isn’t getting any better and will only continue to decline. Gyorko needs to start at 3b and rotate over to 2nd maybe once a week to give kolten an off day. If in 3 months, of consistent playing time and not getting benched after an 0-4 day, wong hasn’t figured it out then bench or trade him. But he deserves a chance, a real chance not a bs he had a bad day so lets bench him the rest of the week kind of chance matheny likes to pull. Grichuk needs the same as well. If he’s going to continue to hinder their development then Mo needs to trade them so another team can give them the chance they deserve, or fire matheny but that won’t happen. I think matheny has a sex video of Mo and that’s why mo is such a wuss when it comes to being the gm. He had more balls with larussa than he does with mike.
He’s better than peralta
In case you forget he carried the cards offensively in the playoffs and that earned his contract, and showed his potential. Now if he’d stop being jerked around and be allowed to play every day he might put up some good numbers. If not then it’s still worth giving him a chance. Gyorko needs to be at 3rd with peralta on the bench or sent packing. Peralta is declining wong still has potential.
I love Wong. Was excited when we drafted a rangey 2nd baseman who seemed to profile as a strong hitter. Hope he remains a Cardinal. Call me crazy but I expect him to improve offensively. With that said his comments and annual personal predictons don’t help, i.e. I’ll steal 40 bags, I’d like to bat lead-off comments. IMO Wong should sit against only the nastiest lefties. Gyorko will get his work. If Wong implodes they have potential in the minors with Breyvic Valera too. I hope Wong becomes the high contact high OBP , + defense, + speed guy he should be. Don’t just stand up there looking mean Wong!!!
Extensions usually work to the team’s advantage since they’re trading security for a lower AAV than a player might get in arb or FA. Doesn’t always work out. Cards obviously have buyer’s remorse and should trade Wong ASAP.
What a little B.
Wong has been a head case since he was brought up to the big leagues. He takes his bad at bats to the field, and then before the season starts he talks smack like he has earned the right. Last season in spring training he commented that he should be the leadoff hitter when he shouldn’t even have been a starter. Now he wants to not play in a platoon. Cut bait Cards.