June 09, 2017

Mo commits the Birdland Bloodbath of the #STLCards

Johnny Peralta, soon
a likely ex-Cardinal
St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak finally tired of the Birdos ever-more-rapidly spiraling the drain of mediocrity this month, and the latter part of May, and said Friday: Time to shape up or ship out.

Some shipping out was done immediately. Notably, Jhonny Peralta has been DFA'ed. Mo admitted he didn't even want to take the time to look for a potential trade partner, even one that would offer a AA player and the Cards eating most the remaining contract. That said, somebody's space needed to be opened for Kolten Wong to come back off the DL.

And, that also may be a signal to Birds' skipper Mike Matheny: Play Wong, somehow, and deal better with other personnel issues. We went through this in 2014 when Mo finally traded Allen Craig because Matheny wouldn't stop playing him. Ths is nothing new, as many Birds fans know and as I've blogged before.

Jeff Gordon says Mo's repeated "four to six weeks" comments should make it clear that's how much time Matheny has left. Gordon, in his best writing in some time, notes Peralta also shot himself in the foot by refusing to learn to play first base and add to his late-career versatility. If he is picked up, it will probably be by an AL team looking at him as an extra DH as well as utility infielder.

Jedd Gyorko notes here that it's a wake-up even for players who have been doing better.

That said, it was Mo himself who overpaid for Dexter Fowler. He clearly had a career year defensively last year, and some suggest that it was not only the smaller outfield in Wrigley, but new Cub Jason Heyward, no matter the suck of his bat, soaking up massive defensive expanses of right field. I said myself that both offering five years instead of four, AND a full no-trade, was too much. One or the other. Not both.

Randal Grichuk is clearly in Mo's sights next. However, it's to be hoped that the change in assistant hitting coaches, as well as his training-level rehab, fixes some of his issues. His contract is still cheap enough to keep him at Memphis and/or the big club, even if he has to sit behind Tommy Pham and / or Magneuris Sierra, whose time may or may not have come — remember Small Sample Size effects — but is certainly bidding for that.

Jose Oquendo: Next
Redbirds skipper?
Speaking of coaching changes, Gordon, on a hot streak, suggest that hitting coach John Mabry is next on the clock. And, I'm sure that if push came to shove, Matheny would push to save himself.

And, if Matheny's own egg timer runs out? Gordon, getting the trifecta, already starts the speculation ball rolling by mentioning the old "Cardinals secret weapon," former third-base coach Jose Oquendo, as top of the list. The team could do worse. At a minimum, he'd be a great interim for the rest of this year.

And, beyond that, we need to get the ball rolling about serious discussion for a Matheny replacement. I wanted to have Mo hire Terry Francona as Tony La Russa's replacement at the time, but, unfortunately, that didn't happen.

And Mo, at least for PR purposes, put himself on the clock, too:

"I think everybody, including myself, is not in the most secure situation right now." 
Of course, this may NOT be just PR purposes. Bill DeWitt might have said a word or two, for all we know. Per this piece, specifically, the photo, DeWitt's been known to stick his head in the clubhouse.

But, really, this is about Matheny. Per that second-to-last link, Jose DeJesus Ortiz's column, a lot of this is ultimately about Matheny. Too many Cardinals have been too sloppy at baserunning since he took over. Of course, one could argue that some of that bounces back on Oquendo.

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