After years of declining offense, the Cardinals optioned Paul DeJong to the minors in early May. Since that time, he’s showed some improved results, relatively speaking. Through 37 games with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, he’s hitting .230/.276/.500. The resulting 95 wRC+ is still below league average, but is miles ahead of the 25 wRC+ he posted at the MLB level this year.
Even if DeJong were to take a step forward and get into a nice groove, it will be difficult for him to force his way back to the big leagues due to the success of those already there. John Mozeliak, the team’s president of baseball operations, spoke to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the situation recently. “The way Tommy Edman’s playing, and we’re getting a lot of production out of our second basemen, (DeJong) is going to have to hit his way back,” Mozeliak said. “It’s really been a situation where he would go down, get himself right and then come back. In the meantime, there’s been a little bit of a Wally Pipp situation where the players who have taken over those positions have been thriving.” For those unfamiliar, Wally Pipp was a Yankees first baseman who was once replaced by Lou Gehrig, who then went on to play 2,130 consecutive games. Since then, Pipp’s name has become synonymous with a player’s job being stolen and never relinquished.
As Mozeliak mentioned, Edman is indeed playing well. The positional switch doesn’t seem to have slowed him down at all, as Statcast currently pegs him as having provided five Outs Above Average at both second base and shortstop, totaling ten on the season. DRS and UZR are similarly bullish on his glovework at both positions. At the plate, he’s hitting .274/.347/.407 for a wRC+ of 119. That’s just shy of the 124 from his rookie season and much better than the 91 he posted in each of the past two seasons.
As for the second basemen that were alluded to, since Edman moved to primary shortstop duty, the keystone has been manned by rookies Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman. Both of them are having great seasons at the plate, with Donovan hitting .311/.422/.416 for a wRC+ of 146 and Gorman slashing .255/.317/.455 for a wRC+ of 120. With the Cards getting that type of production from their middle infield, it’s understandable that they’re going to making DeJong show another gear before giving him another shot. DeJong is turning 29 in August and still under contract through 2023 at a $9MM salary. There are also club options for 2024 and 2025, at $12.5MM and $15MM, though those seem sure to be bought out, barring a major turnaround in the meantime.
Elsewhere on the roster, Mozeliak notes that Steven Matz has recuperated from his shoulder issues enough to throw a bullpen session and seems lined up to start a rehab assignment on Tuesday. Signed to a four-year, $44MM contract in the offseason, Matz has only been able to make nine starts so far, with diminished results. His 6.03 ERA is certainly unsightly, but there’s likely some misfortune in there. Matz actually improved his strikeout and walk rates compared to last year, but has a .350 BABIP, 67% strand rate and 21.1% HR/FB rate, all of those being worse than his career averages. As such, all of the advanced metrics believe him to be much better than that ERA, with xFIP going so far as to place him at 2.98. When Matz returns, he will likely join Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson in the rotation, leaving Andre Pallante as the odd man out. Pallante has a 2.03 ERA through 48 2/3 innings thanks to a healthy 62.7% ground ball rate. However, his 15% strikeout rate and 10.2% walk rate are both worse than league average, with a .282 BABIP and 91.3% strand rate helping him keep that ERA down.
One member of the team who doesn’t seem close to a return, however, is franchise catcher Yadier Molina. Hummel relays that he has returned to his home in Puerto Rico while rehabbing his knee, with no timetable for his return. Turning 40 in a just over two weeks, Molina has already declared that this will be his final season. However, knee soreness has limited his production to a line of .213/.225/.294 on the year for a 47 wRC+. Andrew Knizner has gotten the bulk of playing time in his absence, though he’s hitting just .185/.281/.244 on the season for a 60 wRC+. With just over a month to go until the trade deadline, the health of Molina’s knees and the status of Knizner’s bat could compel the team to consider outside options before the August 2 cutoff.
Cards and Brewers.
Battle of 2 inconsistent teams continues
They have both been consistently at the top of the standings.
To be fair it’s the NLC
The central has consistently been competitive every year and i believe they’ve had more wild card teams since the invention of the second wild card so i dont get the hate
Giants send Joey Bart to the Cards for ?!!?
Any ideas ?
They don’t need Bart…they have Herrera as their future catcher and Kitzner is holding down the fort till then…both of them will be fine till Molina gets back
mo hasn’t looked at sosa’s stats
Sosa can’t get sent down he’s already gone threw all of his options so he has to stay in the majors or if the Cardinals really don’t need him they’d trade him, but right now there just using Sosa as a pinch runner/backup
Mo hasn’t looked so hot in his low hand fruit signings since signing Mikolas. This year——all of his low hanging fruit, plus a Bret Cecil type contract signing of Martz are all rotten tomatoes!!! Any bets he won’t improve the team at the trading deadline???? Ha! Didn’t think so!!! He’s just gotten out of touch over the past few years.
It’s very cringe worthy when someone feels the need to step all over and explain a joke or reference. Just let it breathe and if someone is unfamiliar with and wants to learn more about Wally Pipp they can look it up on their own.
It’s like the new Star Wars movies where rather than just letting things happen and allowing the audience to surmise the reason the actors explain the entire plot to us via the dialogue.
Ya like jazz?
well, in a pinch they’ve got Romine sitting around on his hands with nothing to do.
Can he play first?
“Through 37 games with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, he’s hitting .230/.276/.500. The resulting 95 wRC+ is still below league average, but is miles ahead of the 25 wRC+ he posted at the MLB level this year.”
We’re talking Triple-A here. This is good?
Improving stats 230 avg at triple a ???
Batting average means nothing anymore, as long as you hit a homer every third game.
54 homers in a season would be very impressive and help a player’s team win lots of ballgames.
I don’t think Jack Flaherty is quite healthy yet. Left today’s game with shoulder tightness. Cardinals have a major depth problem at starter, and don’t have the bullpen depth to pull from there. Andre Pallante isn’t the odd man out until health proves otherwise
My thoughts exactly. Nothing about Flaherty’s body language or facial expressions during any of his 3 starts inspires confidence in his health. Wittgren and VerHagen keep getting opportunities and keep proving they don’t deserve them. We need another starter even when Matz comes back. Pallante is getting exposed a little as a starter. His control isn’t consistent enough.
I hope Flarity is OK! Want to beat you guys with your best team on the field against my Brewers!
Same to you about all the Brewers injuries. If you ask me Brewers have a better starting pitching core than the Cardinals offense.
Gee, you’d think a first ballot Hall of Famer like Molina would stick around and be a mentor to his teammates, like teach Knizner how to frame.
Love Molina, but your observation is accurate!
He got a job managing Venezuela’s team, I believe… Knizner can frame. Herrera perhaps.
Have the utmost respect for his hall of fame career but…..stick a fork in him and play the young guys.
I’m sure the A’s would trade Sean Murphy for prospects
The story about Wally Pipp begging to take a day off is a myth. it was actually Miller Huggins who gave Pipp the day off. The Yankees were having their only losing season of the decade and they wanted to see Lou Gehrig Pipp had a hockey accident as a youth that left his eye permanently damaged which in teen caused him lifelong headaches. He played through them and rarely missed any games.
Autocorrect ruins my sentences
Pallante is pitching like the #2 Pitcher at the moment and Matz needs to be treated with caution. One or two additional starters are needed…. either give it to Liberatore and Thompson already and go forward or trade for pitchers.
Once again, John Mozeliak and Bill Dewitt chose the cheap route in signing mediocre players and overestimating some existing staff in the off season. Huge mistakes. Been watching Cardinals baseball since 1972. This is beyond inexcusable.
I read all these negative comments and I am amazed . I remember a couple years ago all you “know it alls” were saying Wainwright was washed up and should retire, well 3 seasons later he’s still kicking . I a lifelong Cardinal fan who lives in Pittsburgh.. You people are spoiled. Mo makes some smart moves for the franchise , not all of them work out but you whiners should try being a Pirate fan.
Tyler O’Neill for Alejandro Kirk. Who says no?