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Will the Cardinals send down Oscar Taveras when Matt Adams returns?

Jun 12, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

matt adams cardinals getty Getty Images

Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow, which is the first day he’s eligible after missing two weeks with a calf injury.

Adams rejoining the lineup means Allen Craig will shift back to right field after filling in at first base and according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com the return of “Big Mayo” also likely means the Cardinals will send one of their two rookie outfielders, Oscar Taveras or Randal Grichuk, back to Triple-A.

Taveras is the much better prospect–in fact, he’s one of the top half-dozen or so prospects in all of baseball–and the Cardinals seem unlikely to keep him in the majors at age 21 if he’s not playing regularly. Taveras homered in his first career game, but has hit just .189 with a 7/2 K/BB ratio in 11 games overall. Grichuk has been even worse, hitting .136 with a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 19 games after batting .315 with 10 homers and a .952 OPS in 41 games at Triple-A.

Deciding to shift Taveras to center field would be a way to keep him in the majors as an everyday player while also making room for Adams’ return, but the Cardinals’ brass has suggested recently that they’d prefer if he stuck to an outfield corner.

  1. ereed1286 - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    It’s a bloated lineup, to say the least.

    My vote is they do not keep Oscar up to sit on the bench. The kid has a very pretty swing.

    I know sending him down sounds crazy, but what are you going to do?

    • okwhitefalcon - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      3, maybe four options – and not in my order of preference

      1. Send Taveras out and get him regular AB’s in Memphis as mentioned above.

      2. Send Grichuk down and find a way to get Taveras 20 AB’s a week. Grichuk is obviously overmatched (so far) – bad pitch recognition, low contact rate and too many K’s.

      3. Send them both out and recall Shane Robinson. (YIKES)

      4. Make a deal (if one presents itself) and free up the logjam.

      I’d like to see them keep Taveras up, he elongates the roster and makes them a better team now.

      • stex52 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        See my note below. I am unconvinced on Adams. Fifth option.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        Unfortunately, the way both have been hitting, “deals” aren’t likely. Robinson’s not the future, and barely the present. Grichuk going back down’s the best option from where I sit.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        Falcon: I vote for #2.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        Now, that said, an OF could be *part of* a trade. I’d include either Jay or Bourjos as part of a package for David Price.

    • cohnjusack - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      It’s a bloated lineup, to say the least.

      It’s a bloated *awful* lineup, as they rank 10th in runs scored. Adams is currently riding an unsustainable .390 BABIP with no walks and his HR power has vanished. Expect his numbers to decline pretty soon.

      Personally, I’d like give Tavares a shot in center *because something has to change*.

      • ereed1286 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        I think both “bloated” and “awful” are intertwined in this situation. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to call this offense awful (see Kansas City), but the fact is you have multiple players who can play multiple positions and at different spots in the lineup. I think some consistency and reliability would go a long way. If that means dealing someone, I’m all for it. Jon Jay’s value is very high right now. I would let Adams settle in again and hopefully he’ll have some trade value too.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        Again, that’s Not.Gonna.Happen. Read Mo’s lips.

  2. thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Send them both down until rosters expand

  3. chew1985 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Wish the Phillies had a couple legitimate prospects like all the other good teams do…lol.

    Frank

    Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:46:19 +0000 To: fek2004@hotmail.com

  4. stex52 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Adams has a nice, pretty BA. But his platoon splits are terrible. His hitting is virtually non-existent against left-handers. And his HR power appears to have evaporated, even against right-handers.

    Are we sure we are dealing with the right problem?

    • ereed1286 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      That’s a legit point. With that said, I still think Adams is still dangerous off the bench, even just to get on base, as he has been doing.

      • jerze2387 - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        then keep the lineup as is and bring adams off the bench.

  5. bmh9500 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    BIG MAYO

  6. jerze2387 - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    How about a radical idea…

    Craig to 3B, Carpenter back to 2B, Adams at 1B. Or carpenter and craig can move around as players get off days. Having 2 versatile players like craig and carpenter certainly helps the situation

    • paperlions - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Craig is a horrible defender no matter where you put him. He can’t play 3B at all…in fact, Adams is better at 1B than Craig.

      The best option is probably to mix and match and keep Taveras up, giving him some time in CF and RF, Craig some time in RF and 1B and use Adams at 1st and off the bench….Adams should never face a lefty, he’s useless against them….and he’s probably the 3rd best player out of the three, but useful off the bench or as a role player.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      That’s not radical, that’s stupid, as paperlions notes. Craig would be exposed indeed at 3B.

      That said, pl is wrong on one other thing. Tavares isn’t getting CF time. Mo’s been regular and repeated on that, and since he’s not .350/.500/.850 on slashes, he’s not “earned” the right to risk his defense in CF.

      • paperlions - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        I wasn’t predicting what I think will happen, just what I think would be an optimal use of the players.

        Taveras has been hitting the ball hard since he’s been up. He’s not over matched by MLB pitching and he has been burned a lot by umps calling balls that are clearly outside strikes. He’s driving the ball all over the field, just been unlucky in hitting them foul or right at defenders.

        There is no reason to think his defense in CF will be any worse that Jay’s.

  7. kycardsfan - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Adams needs to go right back in the lineup. He was killing righties. The Homerun numbers are down a bit, but the guy can flat out hit. I would love for Taveras to stay up but he needs to play everyday and if it’s not going to be in center it may not happen this year. Grichuck has been overmatched by MLB pitching this season, but he can play center. Grichuck stays up, Adams starts at first, and Taveras goes back to raking in Memphis.

    • stex52 - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      I don’t see the “flat out hit” part with Adams. And he is on my fantasy team (for now). His OPS looks good at .800 until you see that he sits against lefties. Then you realize he is more of a platoon player. His walks are virtually non-existent (five so far this year). A guy with his BA should have an OBP in the .380’s anyway. His doubles total is pretty good, but he projects right now to a total of seven homeruns this year.

      Right now I realize he is a second year player and needs to adjust. But if he doesn’t soon, then he is a platoon first baseman / pinch hitter. They can’t go with that virtual lack of power at first.

    • missingdiz - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      I agree about Adams. Not many home runs, but he’s hit more doubles in 200 PA this year than he did in 300 PA last year. Not many RBI, but then the other guys haven’t been getting on base.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jun 12, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Adam’s is 1 for 39 this year with a runner on second base.

        That is, as the kids say – “just cray”.

  8. brucewayne3561 - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Yea! That would b kind of silly to bench Wong! One of the guys who are currently hitting consistently ! Y would u do that? These guys just have to b put in one spot & left there & let them get into a groove! They have to have a routine! It’s not the players! It’s the manager who doesn’t know how to manage a pitching staff! Have u seen how many ONE run games the Cards have lost this year already ? What does that tell you?

    • kycardsfan - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      The management of the bullpen this season has been absolutely atrocious

  9. bolweevils2 - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    This situation in the corner outfield isn’t going to change anytime soon, so the Cards have to figure out what they are going to do. If they only view Taveras as a corner OF, they’ve got Holliday thru 2016, Craig thru 2017, and Adams only has one year of ML experience, so none of them are going away anytime soon.

    Someone else is going to have to get benched or traded to make room for Taveras at some point. Yes, the easiest thing is always going to be to send the young guy back to the minors. He’s only 21, so you can justify it that way. But it sure doesn’t seem like he has much more to learn in AAA. Your just delaying a hard decision by sending him back down.

  10. stlouis1baseball - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Since when did “Big City” become “Big Mayo?”

    Qualification: I think “Big City” is one of the worst (cheesiest) nicknames in the history of nicknames.
    I just didn’t realize he was “Big Mayo” all of a sudden.

    • okwhitefalcon - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      Matt Sebek of joesportsfan.com in STL (hilariously repetitive follow on twitter @mattsebek) has been pushing the “Big Mayo” nickname for a while now, (it’s more horrific then Big City) our own Drew Silva jumped on the band wagon and it’s infected our playground here unfortunately.

      If Adam’s continues his light hitting ways I’m all in for “Big Punchn’ Judy”.

      • stex52 - Jun 12, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        He is not terrible in a platoon, although his power is AOL. But he is completely lost against lefties. If he can’t cure that, I just don’t see him as an everyday player. And he is going to have to do better than 7 HR/yr to stay at 1st base.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 13, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        No s h i t! “Big Judy” might work even better. But just for the record…I dig “Big Mayo” a whole lot more than that cheesy ass “Big City” crap.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 12, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      On my blog, I’m pushing the Kozma Line as the modern, sabermetric update of the old Mendoza Line. You have to have an OPS below .600.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 13, 2014 at 9:27 AM

        I dig it! Menoza line? Nope. The Kozma Line. Wow. Lol!

  11. klukstr - Jun 12, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Craig or Adams have to get packaged.They have way too many outfielders also throw them in and a prospect and grab Price.Definitely gonna need him if Waino’s elbow linger on a bit.With the fewer outfielders that Matheny would have to think about doing his daily mathematical statistics I think the more consistency of wins this team will get.

    • okwhitefalcon - Jun 12, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      Craig isn’t going anywhere.

      Adams on the other hand….

  12. yahmule - Jun 12, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    In these real small sample sizes, its unfortunate when people talk about a kid’s progress when they plainly haven’t bothered to see him take any AB’s Taveras is anything but overmatched at the plate right now. If you want to see a kid who simply wasn’t ready, look at Wong’s AB’s last season, but don’t just assume a .189 BA over an 11 game stretch means anything.

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