August 31, 2013

#Cardinals fans and Kozma-ic cluelessness

Dear fellow Redbirds aficionados:

I understand that the St. Louis Cardinals are in the middle of trying to not only make the playoffs, but win the Central Division and avoid the wild-card play-in game.

I understand that you are worried about the performance of particular players.

And, I of course understand, and know, that shortstop Pete Kozma is at the top of this list.

But please, especially if you're linking to Baseball-Reference for blogging, actually check the stats of the players you're linking to before writing drivelous nonsense?

Like nonsense about how Ryan Jackson is "the answer." Or how Daniel Descalso is "the answer."

Let's have a bit of a reality check, shall we?

First, Pete Kozma is what he is. But, Jackson  is not the answer; if he were, he wouldn't be in Memphis now, would he? He's the same age as Kozma, and had a cup of coffee with the big club himself. If he were the answer, Kozma would be further down the river, not Jackson.

If anything's the answer out of Memphis, it's Greg Garcia, anyway, since he's pretty much supplanted Jackson at SS and also is a couple years younger and with a touch more speed, perhaps.  For the year-to-date in Memphis, Jackson's handled more chances, etc., at SS than Jackson has. Jackson's now in the OF, if you'll check his minor-league page on B-R.

Descalso? Puhleeze. He'ss not enough better than Kozma as a hitter to offset his stone glove. He's a utility player backup, period, and on the glove side, SS is the worst of his three infield positions. Cards fans who think he's the answer need to think again.

Doesn't .941 fielding percentage, and below-league-average range, say a thing to you? 

The real answer is "accepting" Kozma (and other band-aids as necessary) for this year, while looking ahead to the offseason.

Now that Kolten Wong has been called up by the St. Louis Cardinals, if he makes the grade enough, from what he shows this year, or maybe this year plus spring training next year, then 3B  David Freese, of course, becomes trade bait, since current 2B starter Matt Carpenter is better at third than second.

Jon Heyman at CBS has issued an initial ranking of the top 50 MLB free agents for the upcoming year. There's only one third baseman on the list, and that's perhaps using the term loosely. Michael Young is tied for No. 50 on Heyman's list. 

Freese is six years younger, and even with a bit of a slip this year, is still a better power hitter and better overall.

And, of course, we all know what to look for out of that trade — a shortstop!

Yes, the Angels likely were overcharging in the midseason for Erick Aybar. Maybe their price comes down in the offseason. And, with Chris Nelson now at third, the Haloes could stand an upgrade.

If the ChiSox are in a mood to let go of Alexei Ramirez, Freese is an upgrade over Conor Gillaspie!

Or, maybe Freese becomes part of a trade for pitching, and Garcia makes the big squad. Or maybe we find out Wong isn't ready yet, and so, the Cards give Freese another one-year deal in arbitration.

But, Descalso and Jackson aren't the answer. Period. Not as a starting SS. (That said, because he's OK at 2B and 3B, and passable at short, Descalso IS the answer as a utility infielder to keep around.)

And, Cards fans, by blog posts, who need to "think again" about either Jackson, Descalso, or both, include this and this among others. And, if I need to post more links, I will.

Again, if you're going to link to a site like Baseball-Reference, actually look at the stats before making  comments like these. I understand the frustration with Kozma, but as Lincoln said about replacing Gen. McClellan, you can't replace Kozma with "anybody," you have to replace him with "somebody."

Update, Sept. 3: Yes, I'm aware that Jackson has now been called up. Big deal, it's September and time for a few more 40-man call-ups to come up from Memphis. Don't read too much into that.

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