|Mike Matheny, Cards'|
managerial genius - NOT
Peralta to third.
Matt Carpenter to second.
And Aledmys Diaz the primary guy at short.
Carpenter's the most steady player; he's tied for first with Matt Adams as highest OPS among starters. Why mess with his mind by having him switch positions? Especially since this may also hurt team D. (Given that Matheny was late to the table on things like defensive shifts, that probably hasn't crossed his mind anyway. Still ...)
Diaz, after a hot start, is slumping. He may need time off; the team may need to have that time to figure out how pitchers are catching up to him and how to help him adjust.
That leaves wobbling incumbent Kolten Wong, offseason acquisition Jedd Gyorko and call-up utilityman Greg Garcia to fight for time at second, with the latter two also looking to back up SS and third as needed.
None of this addresses other problems, which include:
1. A slow team, next to last in the league in stolen bases, with with a negative effective success rate of just 62.5 percent so far — with the most caught stealings in the league.
Update: I got B-Ref's No. 15 in caught stealing wrong. It actually means they're the best. But, per commenter Salvo, that's because they don't steal.
However, the success issue is still problematic, even if we paper over low attempts.
Per ESPN, the Cards rank No. 25 among all 30 MLB teams in success rate. And, as regular watchers of the team know, beyond steals, it has a history of stupidity as well as slowness in general baserunning, one that Matheny AND his staff have never addressed well, probably because they've never focused on it. Maybe that's because Matheny and Jose Oquendo are top coaching honchos.
So, the gist of my comments still stand; I've occasionally blogged for 2-3 years about general baserunning issues.
2. The struggles — almost as bad as Wong's — of Randal Grichuk. I was one of the naysayers in the offseason about GM John Mozeliak standing pat in the free agent market other than making a pitching overpay for Mike Leake (even if he may be one of the team's best starters this year).
It's small comfort to note that the similarly overpaid, in my book, Jason Wayward is performing just as poorly in Chicago, arguably more so, both offensively and defensively, although he does have half as many swipes, and at a better rate, than the entire Cards roster. (And, he probably would have been worse yet if the team's regular CF.)
I had argued to take a flier on Denard Span. He's not setting the world on fire, but he's doing reasonably OK out in the Bay. And, on the contract terms the Giants gave him, he could have prepared the Cards for some transition to a post-Matt Holliday world.
To summarize my thoughts from comments below:
1. Diaz, while not having been slumping enough to deserve benching, might well need more situational starts.
2. It's been a while since Carpenter played 2B, and that was before he was an All-Star. I don't like messing with established players.
3. Related to that, the fewer pieces you move at one time, generally the better.
4. Beyond comments below, Peralta's not played a single game at third since 2010.
5. This all reinforces my observations above about Matheny and semi-cluelessness about infield defense.