May 31, 2014

#Cardinals call up Taveras - a good move IF ...

I totally agree with the call-up of OF Oscar Taveras, as well as that, for a second time, of Randal Grichuk. I wasn't expecting the Taveras tapping until a bit closer to their AL road trip, but, it's a good move IF ....

If, as Bernie Miklasz notes, Mike Matheny will actually play him that much. As Bernie notes, this is very much a John Mozeliak move, who wants to give Taveras a good eyeball. If both he and Grichuk get playing time and show they're the answers, Bernie's right. This solves the Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay conundrum in CF, and means that Allen Craig plays more at first, making Matt Adams either a "super-sub," per Bernie, or trade bait for the right deal.

Bernie talks more about the general outfield crowd here. This comment from Mozeliak is an important one:
“If we’re going to bring up somebody like a Taveras, it’s certainly going to be where everybody agrees with the plan,” Mozeliak said. “It’s not necessarily something I’m just going to dictate. I obviously want to talk to Mike and his staff and get their thoughts. But you’re not going to start somebody’s (arbitration) clock, and then have them sit. That makes no sense. If you get to the point where you feel he can help you, then you’ve got to be committed to him playing a certain amount of games.”

Bernie wrote this before either call-up, because in the next paragraph, he notes:
This could be exactly why the Cardinals promote Grichuk – again – instead of Taveras. I don’t think Mozeliak is willing to take the chance of having Taveras move to the majors, only to sit and chew sunflower seeds.
That said, he's right at the end. If Taveras and Grichuk both halfway pan out, right now, some trade is happening. Adams and Jay are the most likely to depart. Jay has somewhat boosted his trade value over last year. Adams has not, though. If anything, he's diminished his, with less overall power, and if possible, despite his spring training vows, a worse performance against lefties than last year.

Back to the main point, though, and Mo's main comment. On the main call-up? Matheny says Taveras will get his chances. And, indeed, he's starting today. And, has started his Cardinal career with a bit of a bang. But, let's let this play out.

Here, I pause to say nuts to a couple of commenters I ran into on NBC Sports last week who both think that Bernie doesn't know what he's talking about, and that Matheny is just a cog in a Mozeliak marching orders machine. Not true. Not from where I sit.

Bernie also gives a good round-up of our Sub-Genius Skipper's mismanagement of the bullpen so far this year. And, it's pretty bad mismanagement. He makes a good point especially about David Aardsma: is it time to call him up soon? And, that's where Matheny's stubbornness, hunches, or "my guys" stance show he's not a Mozeliak cog. Even as he continues into a third straight year of managerial performance at or below a team's Pythagorean expectations. The fact that Shane Robinson was called up earlier this month (why?) is another example I'll present of "my guys."

Sorry, folks, but I wasn't all huzzahs when he was signed to be manager. I wanted Terry Francona. I still kind of wonder what he would have done.

Also, to you Cards management defenders who nod your heads every time Mo talks about "junior GMs," especially on the idea that Taveras could play center? I've never made that claim myself.

That said, they're out there, and on Taveras, they're not limited to Cards fans. They include people like this willfully clueless Mets rooter.  He insists that Taveras "has to" play center.

So, let's hope that Mo's words and Matheny's "he'll play" all ring true. Let's hope that Taveras and Grichuk both show something. Then, let's hope that Matheny gets a clue on how to run a bullpen.

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