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Why aren’t the Cardinals playing Oscar Taveras?

Jul 22, 2014, 7:08 PM EDT

Oscar Taveras has started just two of the Cardinals’ last seven games and the left-handed-hitting outfield prospect is not in St. Louis’ starting lineup on Tuesday night against Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi. Getting the nod instead is the right-handed-hitting Allen Craig. What’s the deal?

That’s a particularly funny-sounding comment from a guy who was given the reins to one of baseball’s premier franchises despite having zero managerial history. You’d think Matheny would have an intimate awareness about developing on-the-go and that experience is necessary for growth. Craig has batted just .244/.294/.357 overall this season and .237/.291/.315 against right-handers. Taveras hasn’t done much since slugging his first major league home run in his first major league game, but the supremely-talented 21-year-old Dominican was a .348/.402/.578 hitter against right-handed pitching in 918 career minor league plate appearances.

  1. SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Because he’s batting below the Kozma Line (sabermetrically), which I detail here:

    And, of course, below the old-fashioned Mendoza Line, too.

    Last 28 days, OBP/SLG/OPS slash of 227/238/465. It’s been even worse in the last 14.

    He had been batting/playing regularly after his second call-up, and Just.Not.Hacking.It.

    For whatever reason.

    A manager in the middle of a fight for the playoffs isn’t in the “development business.” Setting aside the issue, if there is one, of “Matheny’s guys,” I see nothing wrong with what he said.

    • guitrguy - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      79 ABs is not a statistically significant sample size.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:28 PM

        It’s not wholly insignificant … and it’s significant enough, as noted, when a team’s in the middle of a playoff race.

        If Matheny were Gibby, managing the D-backs, would be a different story.

        But, it’s not.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:39 PM

        I’ll admit that Craig isn’t hitting significantly better over that time. But, he’s certainly not been hitting worse.

        As for anybody who wants to say, “But, defense,” I advise you to compare both on defensive runs saves, zone runs, or range factor. Tavares, at least now, offers no, zero, zip, zilch, nada advantage in those areas.

        Maybe he does need to go back to Memphis. I don’t know.

      • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        That SS is not sufficient to draw any conclusions about ability and sitting on the bench sure won’t help develop the player for when you need him.

        If you watch at bats from Taveras and Craig, there is no way to conclude that Craig has the best chance to be productive. Craig looks lost and horrible. I hope he finds his way out of whatever hell he has wondered into….but if he doesn’t ground out multiple times to 3B or SS tonight, it’ll be a minor miracle.

        The biggest problem is just wasting Taveras on the bench….he should be playing somewhere.

      • guitrguy - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        Dude seriously? I appreciate you trying to use stats, but you can’t make meaningful conclusion of data that is statistically insignificant. When you deal with sample size this small you introduce variance skewing the expected value. That’s why it’s insignificant. Again on the defensive front, he hasn’t played enough in the majors for you say those numbers represent his true ability.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        To provide the defensive details for people saying “but defense” (if nothing else) on the necessity of playing Taveras right now?

        By the slash of Total Zone Runs per year/Defensive Runs Saved per year/range factor per 9 innings, with RF only for both:

        Craig: -13/-9/1.42
        Taveras: -2/2/1.87

        Ohhh, but … I don’t know statistics, or whatever … (And those are full season samples for both, not the last 28 days, or 14, so bite me if you pull out the small sample size statement.)

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:58 PM

        Damn, I got Craig’s and Taveras’ pages mixed up in my mind. Actually, Craig is better not worse, even if it’s not a huge diff.

        It should be:

        To provide the defensive details for people saying “but defense” (if nothing else) on the necessity of playing Taveras right now?

        By the slash of Total Zone Runs per year/Defensive Runs Saved per year/range factor per 9 innings, with RF only for both:

        Taveras -13/-9/1.42
        Craig -2/2/1.87

        Again, that’s full-season, not last 14 or last 28. And, it’s RF only. Not counting Craig’s games at 1B.

        So, there’s no defensive advantage; there’s a liability, if anything, right now, with Taveras.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:24 PM

        And somebody asked about batting splits? Let’s look at both, against righties, in St. Louis, not Taveras’ minor league stats against righties.

        Taveras: .219/.279/.497
        Craig: .291/.315/.606

        Paging Drew Silva ….

        But, I’ll split the difference.

        Let’s average Taveras’ St. Louis righties and Memphis total splits 2014 (but not his full MiLB splits all years, and B-Ref doesn’t do splits in the minors), which will give us a larger sampler size, too.

        Here we go, on OBP/SLG/OPS:


        Looks good … but, all I’ve “proven” is that Taveras can hit in AAA. And, even then, it’s not **that much** better than Craig.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        That said, is this Matheny’s best option right now?

        Probably not.

        Arguably, right now, against righty pitchers, the best current solution for both offense and defense is to put Peter Bourjos, having a mini-awakening, in center, and Jon Jay in right. OTOH, Cards fans who see Taveras as the second coming of Derek Jeter might be even more pissed at that arrangement.

        Heh, heh, heh.

    • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      Well, if you are going to ignore sample size, then I’ll stoop to your level.

      Taveras since July 1: .190/.227.238

      Craig since July 1: .158/.200/.263

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        Last 14 days?

        Craig: .250/.263/.513
        Taveras: .200/.158/.358

      • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:47 PM

        Oh, I am so sorry. I forgot that 14 days was magical.

        Care to show Craig’s splits vs RHP over that magical time period?

      • bmh9500 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:00 PM

        PL, something something drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

      • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        Yeah, I know. I should know better, I know that too….but somehow showing that the same flawed approach can “prove” two opposing points when applied to almost the exact same data was too hard to pass up.

      • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:02 PM

        Here is an incomplete list of guys that have hit worse than Taveras over the last 14 games (using wRC+ as shorthand, there is a total of 32 such players). In ascending order of suck (worst at the bottom)

        Dustin Pedroia
        Johnathan Lucroy
        Freddie Freeman
        Jay Bruce
        Jon Singleton
        Yoenis Cespedes
        Ian Kinsler
        Mark Reynolds
        Gregory Polanco
        Mike Zunino
        Shin-Soo Choo
        Nelson Cruz.

        Every one of those guys has been worst than Taveras the last 14 days. Barely missing the cut, Ryan Howard, Starlin Castro, Victor Martinez, Anthony Rendon, Allen Craig, and Matt Carpenter.

        Again. 14 days means exactly squat with respect to ability or expectation….and it means even less for a guy that just turned 22 and is getting inconsistent playing time.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:44 PM

      I should add that I do believe, along with Bernie Miklasz, that there is some sort of “Matheny’s guys” deal.

      Maybe this might actually convince Lions that it’s true, though I doubt that. (Or is it Falcon who’s more skeptical of that? Speaking of, I haven’t seen him in these regions in a few days.)

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        Still waiting for Lions, or other Cards fans, to respond on this one.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        And, still crickets, hours later.

      • paperlions - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:01 AM

        Because a lot of the crap you post isn’t worth responding to….this is pure speculation, there is not basis for an opinion on this speculation.

        You definitely got the gadfly part right, I’ll give you that….of course, to socratic part falls seems to fall well short all too often.

      • gmfw7 - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        i’m not a cardinals fan, so this argument means nothing to me. but i just wanted you to know that reading your nonsense in the post has taken you from a poster i didn’t know existed to the poster i loath the most on this site. you really are an obnoxious idiot, and you’re wrong on top of it. sit down guy.

    • bolweevils2 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      If that’s true, and they can’t afford to play him in a pennant race to develop him, then what the heck is he doing on the major league roster? If you don’t want to play him, keep him developing in AAA and stop his MLB service time clock from running up.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      I just read all of your comments on this thread… and wow… you are really obnoxious

  2. wannabeGM - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    Reblogged this on stlcardinalsminimo and commented:
    This is what I have talked about. Matheny is anti new guy. This is bad.

  3. paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    He has 5 plate appearances over the last 10 days. If the idiot manager won’t play the guy over the broken RF who also can’t run or play defense, then trade him or send him back to AAA to play. Sitting on the bench isn’t helping.

    • guitrguy - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:47 PM

      He’s gonna crush it down there. OT really needs to see MLB quality pitching.

      • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        Of course he does. At least in AAA he might see someone on a rehab assignment…on Matheny’s bench all he sees is the railing.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      On the “can’t play defense,” note my comment above. If you want the details?

      By the slash of Total Zone Runs per year/Defensive Runs Saved per year/range factor per 9 innings, with RF only for both:

      Craig: -13/-9/1.42
      Taveras: -2/2/1.87

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        I got those reversed; it’s actually Taveras who has the worse numbers.

      • bmh9500 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:01 PM

        FFS, man.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:12 AM

        It’s 85 AB, please don’t quote defensive stats on 26 games worth of defense. You need three years, at a minimum, before they equalize.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        That said, the “short sample size” and equalization issue cuts both ways. In plain English, Taveras could look even worse, compared to Craig, two years from now. Just saying.

  4. disgustipated812 - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    **cough** David Price **cough cough**

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      Hey, the longer Taveras continues to be “potential” and not “reality” at the MLB level, the more and more comfortable I am with including him in a Price trade.

      • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:51 PM

        Yeah, giving up on a guy that has 84 MLB plate appearances is the right time to throw in the towel. I mean if he can’t get hits from the bench, what good is he. He’s already 22 and can’t even tear up the best players in the world in his first opportunity. Just trade him already. He’s useless.

      • simalex - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        If you don’t PLAY him, you’ll never know. Not that complicated. And for the manager to say they’re not in the play development business… that is f-ing nuts.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        He was playing, and wasn’t cutting it. Sorry, but at some point, you have to make decisions. That’s why Matheny’s the manager, and so far at least, no second-guessing from Mo.

        Maybe we’ll see Taveras’ picture in the MLB dictionary next to “phenom” some day, along with Clint Hurdle, for all you and I know.

        I’m not saying that will happen, but I am saying it could, and I’m honest enough to say it.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      I doubt it. The Rays have no need in the outfield, are in fact likely to trade one or two soon. (Realizing a trade could include a third team or a quick flip to another team of course.)

  5. penguins87and71 - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Allen Craig isn’t having a spectacular season either. How is Taveras ever going to get better by riding the bench. Young players need to play almost every day in order to progress in their MLB careers. Polanco here in Pittsburgh is struggling, and yet Hurdle and the Pirates play him almost every day.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      Polanco started off batting and slugging at least moderately better than Taveras. He may be struggling now, but he had a better start. That said, if he continues to struggle for a couple more weeks, Hurdle may sit him then, too.

      Check in again then.

      Right now, if not totally so, it’s a somewhat apples-and-oranges issue from where I sit.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        That said, it is appropriate to mention Clint Hurdle at this point, perhaps.

        Not as manager, but as player.

        Reminder, folks, there are “phenoms” in the minors ….

        Who just never really “make it” with the big club.

      • shane3131 - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        You should stop arguing

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        No, I should either ignore people like you, or double down on being more sarcastic. Of course, as far as mental work, with the likes of you, they may be of about equal mental exertion levels.)

      • paperlions - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:03 AM

        You aren’t being sarcastic (if you think you are, you aren’t doing it right), all you are being is wrong.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        Well, if I need to learn more about how to be right, it won’t be you I’ll be turning to first.

        Was that sarcastic enough?

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      @ Socratic.
      You know,for a guy(I assume)who is peddeling his own blog on this site,you come off as kind of a

  6. wheels579 - Jul 22, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    Matheny isn’t responsible for keeping Taveras in the majors. That plus the fact that Matheny had no prior experience when hired leads me to believe the front office supports his handling of Taveras, which makes the entire situation all the more peculiar. I doubt the front office wholeheartedly endorses Matheny’s choice of words on the matter, but any questions or blame should be directed at the front office if Oscar Taveras is with the Cardinals absent any mandate for regular playing time. That is not Matheny’s fault.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:01 PM


      When Taveras was called up the second time, Mozeliak said, we all have to be on the same page. He was making it pretty clear he wanted Taveras to play more.

      And he did. And couldn’t hack it.

      I’m sure Mo wishes Matheny had spoken better, but, he’s not indicating there’s any problems with the playing time right now.

      • prostock75 - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        @SocraticGadfly Thank you for ruining a comments section

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        Funny thing about the initial Matheny quote, he said the exact same thing earlier in the year concerning how the organization approaches major league roster shaping.

        No outcry then, no outrage, nada…zip.


        Because the everything seemed to be in place, veterans with proven track records and younger players who had reasonable expectations, an alleged fortified bench and guys in the minor leagues ready to step up if called upon.

        So much for best laid plans..

        Not to say I wouldn’t like to see Taveras get more AB’s but to say it’s solely on Matheny that he isn’t is just goofy, he and Craig are basically the same player right now and one has a reasonably good track record and is owed 30 million bones and the other hasn’t taken advantage of playing time when given a shot.

        The math is pretty easy…

        They’ve got too (well 2, Craig and Taveras) many square pegs for too many round holes and the only way to alleviate the problem is adjust the roster however accordingly, and that’s Mo’s department.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        Well-put, Falcon, coming out from a week’s siesta, or vacation, or whatever.

        Since you said it, not me, maybe you won’t get thumbs-down so much.

    • jilljulias - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      Except the Cards GM Mozeliak said he WASN’T going to call Taveras up unless he was going to get regular playing time. So the GM is a liar or Matheny is not on the same page with the GM.

      A lot of Cardinals fans are really impatient. If a player doesn’t light it up right away they think he’s done.

      Anyway, actions speak so much louder than words. The Cardinals don’t believe in Taveras.

      • paperlions - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:11 AM

        Well, Matheny doesn’t….but Matheny is not smart. He is horrible at using information to make decisions, he regularly cites tiny sample sizes (well, Mark Ellis is 3 for 7 against that pitcher from 2 games 5 years ago so we gave him the start…..a common theme of his when explaining lineup choices) and he is highly subject to recency bias. If Taveras starts a couple of games and gets a couple of hits each game, he’ll suddenly play more even though within the context of baseball performance, prediction, and expectation, those few occurrences should change anyone’s opinion at all.

        Matheny is also horrible at juggling resources. Craig should be starting only against LHP right now and Taveras shouldn’t be sitting (his MiLB record versus lefties is fine), Adams should be (as his MLB and MiLB record against lefties is not fine) sitting against lefites with Craig playing at 1B….but again, Matheny isn’t too bright and is horrible at using information to make decisions

        But it is still on Mo to leave him up there rotting on the bench, it shouldn’t be that hard for Mo to talk to Matheny and find out if Oscar will be playing > 50% of the games or not…if he isn’t going to be, then Oscar should be in AAA getting at bats

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Read what Falcon just posted, directly above. ^^^

        Or let me quote the relevant part:

        Not to say I wouldn’t like to see Taveras get more AB’s but to say it’s solely on Matheny that he isn’t is just goofy, he and Craig are basically the same player right now and one has a reasonably good track record and is owed 30 million bones and the other hasn’t taken advantage of playing time when given a shot.

        Nice to see one person here besides me not engaging in knee-jerk anti-Matheny, or whatever.

        In fact, let me quote that last part again:

        (T)he other hasn’t taken advantage of playing time when given a shot.


  7. bmh9500 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    This whole thing just reeks of a petty clash of personalities.

  8. rcj22001 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    a word of advice for all of you numbers guys trying to inject your own slice of pizazz into baseball: Put down the calculator, pick up a glove, bat, and ball, and go play the game. Then people might, maybe, consider and respect what it is your babbling on about.

    • bmh9500 - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      Does Internet Explorer have an easily fat-fingered keyboard shortcut that pastes this exact comment? I swear, I always see it in these toxic threads.

    • paperlions - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      Newsflash for the cognitively impaired. There is no such thing as a “numbers guy” that didn’t play baseball and love baseball so much so that they wanted to understand it. The person you think exists doesn’t. It isn’t their fault that you don’t want to support your opinions with facts and would rather just discuss beliefs in a fashion that can never prove nor disprove your assertions.

      • cpduke - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        “There is no such thing as a “numbers guy” that didn’t play baseball and love baseball so much so that they wanted to understand it. The person you think exists doesn’t.”

        There’s this guy named Bill James … you may have heard of him.

      • jonrox - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        @cpduke, from Wiki:

        “An aspiring writer and obsessive fan, James began writing baseball articles after leaving the United States Army in his mid-twenties”

      • cpduke - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:52 PM

        Is that supposed to somehow “prove” me wrong? Because you do realize that it does the opposite, right?

      • raysfan1 - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:47 PM

        I think James probably played little league and maybe high school ball. However little he played, anyone who does not ” consider and respect what it is (he is) babbling on about” should have their own opinions about baseball summarily dismissed.

    • Reflex - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      I’ve played the game quite a bit all through school and for some company baseball/softball teams. I also know a bit about the numbers. Do you respect my words now?

  9. chrisernst82 - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Socratic ive noticed you taking over comments sections lately and arguing a lot. This isn’t your blog so quit. If you wanna try to force your opinions down someones throat get your own medium. Dont use someone else’s we didn’t come here for your thoughts and i shouldn’t have to sift thru your arguements to read the comments of the regulars around here.

    No offense to PL but what does having an argument with a person who doesnt listen and just waits to talk.

    As for the arguments about Taveras he will have to play to get out of his slump, its not gonna get better in the cage. Taveras deserves the chance, Craig has had his all season. Remember how bad Trout was when he first came up? Even highly touted prospects need time. Where would Trout be without that time? Its not just Trout either, i see it year in and year out. Comparing Craig and Taveras is like apples and oranges.

    Just cause you can look up stats doesn’t mean you can interpret them.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:36 PM

      I guess you’re selectively focused on me. Obsessive, even. Are you doing sabermetrics on my average time of blog post, number of words, etc.? Do I type faster with my left hand, or my right?

      Heh, heh, heh.

      I can get even more sarcastic, trust me.

      • cshearing - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:10 AM

        50% of the posts here are from you. We’re not obsessed with you, we are being forced to read your ramblings. I read the same defensive numbers in around 7 posts. You are looking like a lunatic.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:39 PM


      A. Who died and appointed you NBC Sports’ blog police?
      B. How does one become a “regular” other than talking, interacting, etc.? Or, do I need to go back to Memphis and get more minor league blogging time?

      • chrisernst82 - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:11 AM

        Geez, you are in a special class of D-Bags. Get a life, how long have you been whining on this one thread? From the time stamp on your post you have been on this one thread the whole entire day. I almost feel sorry for you. No way you have friends with the way present yourself.

        A.You definitely need to go somewhere. Probably not Memphis though they have internet access and you definitely shouldn’t have it. I would try going to shrink and work on whatever issue cause’s you to take joy by attempting to ruin something others enjoy.

        B.You will never know what its like to be a regular anywhere. People will eventually ignore you and your nonsense so you will move on to the next site.

        As to what you should do, go to the nearest sports bar and try these tactics on real people.

        Whats funny is i have seen Paperlions get into many debates on here and never had one like you guys did today. Ive also never seen anyone on HBT (i come here almost daily since PFT merged with NBC) as obnoxious as you. PFT though is a different story, maybe you should go there its much more suited to the lower class of sport fans.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:01 AM

        I’ve never seen him get attacked by a dozen ppl at the same time, who all engage in reflexive anti-Mathenyism, yet, in Lions’ case, still refuses to believe that “Matheny’s guys” might be a factor, in cases where Matheny deserves actual blame.

        Second, feel sorry for yourself, if you feel you have to monitor me that much. I don’t feel the same about you. Wouldn’t be worth my time, you know?

        Third, now that Falcon’s commenting, he largely agrees with me, so I’m not alone on this issue:

        Not to say I wouldn’t like to see Taveras get more AB’s but to say it’s solely on Matheny that he isn’t is just goofy, he and Craig are basically the same player right now and one has a reasonably good track record and is owed 30 million bones and the other hasn’t taken advantage of playing time when given a shot.

        Nice to see one person here besides me not engaging in knee-jerk anti-Matheny, or whatever.

        In fact, let me quote that last part again:

        (T)he other hasn’t taken advantage of playing time when given a shot.


  10. westcoastredbird - Jul 22, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Another night of pompous windbags. You know who you are! Unless Joe Madden is included in the deal for Price I wouldn’t make it. Matheny is so far over his head it’s comical.

  11. wheels579 - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Ultimately Mozeliak should issue a statement so his manager doesn’t have to deal with this “controversy” on a daily basis. Even if the statement isn’t truthful – as it couldn’t be if trade talks involving Taveras were happening behind the scenes – Matheny’s primary job is to win games and Taveras would be in the lineup regularly if the front office wanted that to happen. The Cardinals do not mishandle top prospects, nor would they allow Matheny to. So there must be a reason Taveras hasn’t been sent down and the Cardinals must not want it made public.

    • okwhitefalcon - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:09 AM

      I’m not sure if Mo needs to issue a statement but I agree wholeheartedly with your post.

      Anyone who doesn’t think Mo and Matheny aren’t on the same page regarding this situation is fooling themselves.

      And for the record, here’s the entire quote from Matheny – doesn’t sound near as bad when taken in its entirety in context.

      “We all just got to that point in realizing that….everybody knows we need to do what we need to win the game. We’re not here for development. There are times we like to give guys exposure but the overriding factor is that we need to dow what we can to win. Along with that, you don’t want a guy to just sit here when he can be getting much neeed experience at another level.”

      Matheny equated the situation to the one the Cardinals faced last summer with Matt Adams.

      “We can send him back down to Triple A, but he’s already hit well in Triple A. Can we use him possibly as a bench guy? Get him a few starts a week. Does that make more sense? The answer is yes, and that’s where we are right now. That being said, too, continuing to give Oscar opportunities and hoping he takes off, and prove he can play, he’ll probably need more opportunities.

      I’d love for all of them to be hot and have it be a tough call every night who should be in there.”

      • paperlions - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:24 AM

        I agree with most of that….but it really doesn’t matter if Oscar has hit in AAA, it is still better to be getting regular at bats there than sitting on Matheny’s bench while Craig looks horrible day after day. Oscar has had 6 plate appearances since the 12th. It would be different if Craig didn’t look horrible almost every at bat, he’s of balance and falling forward even when he take balls. Last night he struck out twice and it should have been 3 times as ball 3 to him was easily a strike…the one he hit well as a middle-middle 89 mph FB that didn’t move at all and should have been crushed…but he couldn’t even pull that, indicating that his bat is really slow or his time in really off.

        If Matheny is going to keep running Craig out there against RHP every day and Oscar is going to be a bench player, then it is Mo’s fault for not sending Oscar back down to get some more at bats, he hit okay in AAA but he didn’t hit that well….and he only has about 440 total AAA PAs….a couple hundred more would be better for his development and the team than 20 PAs/month in the majors.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        I had looked on the P-D when Silva first posted, and either missed that link or it wasn’t up yet.

        I thought Silva was engaging in “manufactured controversy” all along, and that’s pretty much the proof.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        The problem with sending him back to AAA is two fold.

        1. It weakens the major league roster significantly, if he goes down we all know who Mo will call up – hello Sugar Shane.

        2. The organization painted itself into a corner by saying he had “nothing to prove in AAA” – which is BS. As paper noted, he doesn’t even have a full season of AAA AB’s.

        It’s been a dysfunctional roster for a while now, amplified by vets who haven’t performed to expectations, acquisitions (well, Bourjos) who didn’t take advantage of opportunities out of spring training and highly touted prospects that haven’t stepped up.

        Throw injuries to the pitching staff and the massive regressions of Shelby Miller (and to a lesser extent Carlos Martinez) and you’ve got problems.

        All this and they’re still in the hunt with a favorable schedule moving ahead.

    • chrisernst82 - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:17 AM

      Cards always play their hand close. I think its one of a few things, OT has gone all Rasmus on us or he is in trade talks.

      Either way they have only 4 realistic options. Send him down, write his name on the lineup card, put him on the DL or trade him. Letting him ride the pine makes no sense.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Per what Falcon said, keeping him in St. Louis, even if he’s not going to play that much, is the “least bad option” right now.

      There’s no “good option” until some outfielders start hitting more. And, speaking of, if Holliday keeps heating it up, that means that LF for Taveras isn’t an option, unless Holliday needs a day off.

  12. pwshrugged - Jul 22, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    It’s confusing to me. Craig/Taveras arguments aside, one of the most important things I hear often is important to a young player’s development is getting out and playing daily, having regular at-bats. If they’re not going to play Taveras regularly, they should put him back to Triple-A, like the Red Sox did with Mookie Betts. Better to get daily reps at that developmental phase than to be a benchwarmer.

  13. pcoffey49 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    This merry go round is getting old. Play your players, not musical chairs. He bats Ellis over Wong, sits Oscar instead of letting him get into a routine. Mr. Mike will managed himself out of a job if this continues. When the hell is he going to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with these guys? Earl Weaver would have been kicking their ass after the first week of the season .

  14. Kevin S. - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:18 AM

    Put me in coach, I’m ready to play. Today.

  15. Francisco (FC) - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    We need an ignore button in addition to the edit button

    • stex52 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      This ^^^^^ Sometimes I even go back to my old posts and want to use that button.

  16. unlost1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Larussa just called and said “what’s the fuss? this goes on all the time in my world”

  17. midwestdoesitbest - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    I would like to think that there is some sort of in-house situation that we are unaware of that is causing Matheny to bench Oscar. However, after seeing Matheny misuse so many Cardinals in the past (continuing to play Boggs, Salas and Descalso, as well as benching Wong when he shouldn’t have) I have to wonder. Knowing that MM has had one too many concussions during his playing time doesn’t help. If the Cards don’t make it to the NLDS (after being picked by so many to win it all) then it’s time to send MM packing. When is his contract up?

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