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Cardinals shopping shortstop Pete Kozma

Mar 19, 2014, 9:53 PM EDT

pete kozma getty Getty Images

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Cardinals are shopping shortstop Pete Kozma, who is currently on the outside looking in for an Opening Day roster spot with the defending National League champions. Rubin says the Mets probably aren’t interested because Kozma is “not really” an upgrade over projected starting shortstop Ruben Tejada.

Kozma plays decent defense at short, but he was a .236/.308/.344 career hitter in the minor leagues and is a .232/.293/.315 career hitter in the major leagues. The 25-year-old was a first-round pick (18th overall) in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft but hasn’t been able to develop offensively and his past numbers suggest that there is no improvement on the way.

The Cardinals signed shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $52 million free agent contract in November and they inked 23-year-old Cuban middle infielder Aledmys Diaz to a four-year, $8 million deal in early March. Daniel Descalso can serve as an emergency backup in the early going for Peralta while Diaz, a Cuban defector who did not play in 2013, gets acclimated to U.S. pro baseball in the minors.

Rubin says the Mets might be going after Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    A first round pick, huh?

    Weird that such a flawless organization would miss on something like that.

    Although my beer league softball team could use a shortstop.

    A backup shortstop. What are they asking?

    • historiophiliac - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      Kozma :(

    • gibbyfan - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      Draftingis far from an exact science………..not a lot of household names in the first round of 07. If I recall the cards were considering Rich Porcello but didn’t want to pay the big bucks he was looking for. I think Boras was his agent. He was from the neiborhood so there was a lot of local coverage.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:25 AM

        Sorry.

        The best front office in all of sports in the known universe shouldn’t be missing on a first round pick.

        And as for signing Porcello, he would have just signed with them for whatever they were offering because of their exceptional negotiating tactics.

      • gibbyfan - Mar 20, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        Those are some pretty broad and baseless statements………No team is flawless woith draft picks…….just check out the first rounders in 2007 —Just a handful turned out worthy of a first round.
        I ‘m not sure who on here follows every front office of every sport enought to say the Cards are the best.
        AS far as POrcello goes –as I mentioned he was virtually a neighbor and there was a ton of local coverage —the cards wanted him but did’t feel they could meet his price.

      • spudchukar - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        Try to ignore the ignorant. He is green with envy.

    • cohnjusack - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:06 AM

      Tis the nature of draft picks. Even those who are very good at it have a lot of misses.

      Sure, they got Shelby Miller, Colby Rasmus, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn as first round picks…they also got Brett Wallace, Zack Cox, and Clayton Mortenson.

    • cohnjusack - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:11 AM

      …furthermore, Pete Kozma’s 1 WAR career has provided more value than 44 other first round picks (counting supplemental round).

      • paperlions - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:44 AM

        Yeah, they should really stop playing him before he give that win back.

      • cohnjusack - Mar 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        I think Pete has done his best to give back that win and then some in recent postseasons

      • historiophiliac - Mar 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        You’re both in timeout!

    • paperlions - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:47 AM

      See, now this is a strawman basis of argument.

      No one has ever said that the best front offices never miss on first round picks and no one has ever called the Cardinal organization flawless. Each of those contentions are refuting arguments that no one made (the definition of a strawman) and do nothing to forward the discussion or resolve a debate.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      As they say…

      Some days you get the chicken…and sometimes the chicken gets you.

      Or…something.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    I think Pete is an above average ball booter.

  3. mantastic54 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    I was under the impression everything the cardinals touched turned to gold, this guy must not be willing to do things the cardinal way

    • forsch31 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:50 PM

      Hey, you managed to hit two dead horses with one shot. Congrats! Here’s your stuffed monkey.

  4. perryt200 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    I am a Cards fan. I thought his defense was fine, but yes his offense was lacking. I was kinda hoping that he would beat out Daniel Descalso.

    What ever happens, I hope he lands with a quality team (meaning not the Mets) because while he might not be the number 1 SS in baseball he would be an upgrade for many teams.

  5. dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    #### Pete Kozma.

    (Sorry, I thought I was on BBTF.)

  6. stevequinn - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Kozma is a good kid and above average defensively. He will eventually become a capable hitter and someone like Boston could probably use him as a defensive replacement.

    I think the writing was on the wall when the Cardinals signed Diaz.

  7. okwhitefalcon - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    This rumor was started yesterday per none other than Jon Heyman.

    It stemmed from a conversation he and STL Post Dispatch Joe Strauss had yesterday morning in Jupiter (per Strauss on his radio show yesterday) and has seemingly taken on a life of it’s own.

    Not saying the rumor isn’t true but I suspect he has more value to the Cards than he maybe worth on the trade market.

    He’s has an option left and having him in Memphis playing everyday isn’t out of the question.

    • paperlions - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:49 AM

      I agree. They have no one else in the organization that would be a reliable defensive SS if Kozma goes down. Maybe Garcia, but they seem to have little faith in his D (or bat). Kozma is more valuable to them in AAA in case Peralta is hurt than the fungo bat they may get in return.

      • paperlions - Mar 20, 2014 at 7:50 AM

        Gah….obviously that should have been “if Peralta goes down”

  8. jrod2go - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    The Natinals love him…maybe they’d be interested.

  9. sdelmonte - Mar 20, 2014 at 4:27 AM

    Given how things are between the Mets and Tejada (regardless of who is to blame), just changing from him to Kosma might be good for everyone.

  10. unlost1 - Mar 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    they traded Brendan Ryan (who was worse)

    • paperlions - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      Ryan’s defense was and is elite, Kozma’s defense is just above average. They both hit like pitchers.

      • spudchukar - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Ryan’s defense is indeed elite, nobody has a combination of his range and hands. But Kozma is a little better than “just above average”. He is incredibly sure-handed. Is great on the DP turn. No one is better coming in on balls, and he handles pop-ups with range that he doesn’t always have on grounders. His weakness is his range, especially to his left. It is rare to have better range to one’s right but that is accurate in his case.

        Hitting is another matter. He is odd here too. It isn’t as if pitcher’s knock the bat out of his hands, and his strength is on pitches inside. None of this makes conventional sense, but it is what it is. He just cannot square pitches up. Partially due to a lot of lower body movement to the ball (he employs a drop and drive style, which works for pitchers, not so much for hitters), but a lot of his hitting deficiency is from the neck up. Don’t know if he can remedy that, so far he hasn’t figured it out.

      • paperlions - Mar 20, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        To be clear, I consider average SS defense to be “very good” defense…I mean, if a guy is about the 15th best defensive SS in the MLB….that is a solid defender as it is the most demaning and important non-catcher spot on defense….and Kozma is better than that, obviously….so when I said “above average” in reference to his defense, I meant better than very good.

      • paperlions - Mar 20, 2014 at 5:41 PM

        I guess that is kind of like being an average offensive 1B….at a position of sluggers, being an average slugger is still a really dang good hitter.

  11. gibbyfan - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    I agree Spud. And while peralta is better hitter, I think Kozma’s defense was good enough that we will miss it during the season.
    Iactually would rather have seen them sign Ryan. Yhey have enough bats in that lineup that they could have afforded a light hitting elite SS…..tha’t a page out of White’s playbook –a grrat fielding SS may not bat in a lot of runs but could save you a ton.

  12. hieronymous27 - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    Could be just what the Detroit Tigers are looking for given their shortstop crisis.

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