May 22, 2014

#Cardinals finally ready to call up Taveras?

John Mozeliak is reportedly finally looking at calling up Oscar Taveras, most likely in time for a Cardinal swing against AL teams where they could use an extra bat at DH. Presumably, that's primarily Allen Craig, with Taveras playing in right, or it could be Matt Adams on occasion, with Craig at 1B.

Taveras continues to whack the ball at Memphis and deserves the shot, which also, from Cardinal fiscal point of view, should be late enough in the season to dodge Super 2 arbitration issues down the road.

Also, given that Adams continues to struggle against lefties, this gives the team more bat flexibility.

And Mo's comments seem to reflect that: 
"From a pure baseball standpoint, he could play in the big leagues … we've got to determine playing time up here with our current roster and are we willing to take away at bats from our current roster and give it to someone else? … if we still sort of look the way we look early June, mid June, then I think it's time for a change. 

In fairness to what some of these gentlemen have accomplished in their careers, I don't think hitting the panic button in middle of May is fair to them."
In other words, if these things don't change after May, it then will be the time to hit some sort of button. That could include keeping Taveras up after that AL-swing call-up.

And, I heard Mo earlier this week talk about "a game a way" to catch the Brew Crew. Heck, we don't even need that. A game a month is all that's needed. We're 3 back now. We have 4.5 months, approximately, left in the season. There you go.

But, per Mo's overall "caution," Taveras boosters shouldn't count his chickens before they hatch.

At the same time, Randal Grichuk's had a cup of coffee and failed, and the Cards just called back veteran backup outfielder Shane Robinson. Taveras' total playing time in any short-term call-up could be based in part on how much of a "Matheny guy" manager Mike Matheny sees him as being. It's true that Kolten Wong, so far, seems to be doing better since being called back up, and I guess is more relaxed. Stay tuned.

And, I've gotten in a bit of a dispute with somebody at NBC's website over whether or not Matheny plays favorites.

Said commmenter also doesn't like Bernie Miklasz, it's clear, so on this post, I'll repost what Bernie said about a month ago.

Bernie brought the talk around to our Sub-Genius Skipper:
I just hope Grichuk gets a chance to play. Obviously, the CF position remains unsettled in St. Louis. Bourjos has done nothing so far, which leaves Matheny leaning on Jon Jay, the guy Mozeliak tried to replace by making the Bourjos trade. Given the situation in CF, and Allen Craig's slow start and startling loss of of power, there should be plenty of chances for Grichuk to get into the lineup. 

Unless, of course, Matheny is caught up on on his “I'm going to stick by my guys” thing, which is occasionally a problem. I don't think Mozeliak wants Grichuk up here just to have a good seat in the dugout.
Ditto for SGS and Garcia, Bernie says:
The only way to find out about Garcia is to play him, and frankly I'd really be surprised to see Matheny put aside his “I'm sticking with my guy” sentiment to play Garcia over Descalso.
I think Bernie was right, and that Matheny does have "his guys." Contra the NBC commenter, the fact that Descalso isn't playing much doesn't mean that Matheny still doesn't play preferences at times. Descalso's never, ever been a regular starting infielder, so, the fact that he isn't one now proves nothing, NBC commenter guy.

As for "Matheny's guys"?

This photo was NOT found on Carlos Martinez' Twitter stream
Sure he has then, and it's not just on small sample sizes. Per him "suggesting" last year that pitchers drawing Christian fish symbols and crosses on the pitcher's mound, as shown, then claiming that the fish was a "No. 6" tribute to Musial, don't you doubt that Matheny looks for certain types of players. (The cross was never explained away, because it couldn't be.)

As for what I said over there, about the Shelby Miller issue? If you call him being put on the postseason roster without  playing an "only" rather than what it was — a waste of a roster spot except for one inning in the Division Series — well, you're being way too kind to both Matheny and John Mozeliak on that one.

It forced a weak managerial hand out of Matheny, as I noted here, while also noting that on Mo's part, this was part of a pattern of less than full truthfulness about players, a pattern shown by self-contradicting team statements on Miller, as I discussed here.

No, neither Matheny nor Mo were "required" to tell fans anything on Miller. But, when you're fooling nobody and hurting your own roster, why wouldn't you at some point be honest?

As for the idea that Matheny is little more than a cog in a Mo-regimented chain of command, that might be partially true. Is it totally true? Of course not. Is it more than 50 percent true, as far as usage of individual players? I don't think so.

And, would you want it so? Because the only way that happens is through a GM micromanaging his manager.

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