Feldman: The Cards dilemma at shortstop

Feldman: The Cards dilemma at shortstop

Feldman: The Cards dilemma at shortstop

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by Brian Feldman, Baseball STL

KMOV.com

Posted on July 20, 2013 at 4:32 PM

(BaseballSTL) -- As it’s been written before and said many time over, obviously it’s better to make no deal at all than a bad one.  Makes sense.  Trades can have a way of haunting teams for years if done incorrectly.  That’s why, sure, if there’s no good move to be made at shortstop the Cards would be better off standing pat. 

Or would they?

Can the Cardinals make a deep run in the postseason with a Pete Kozma/Daniel Descalso tandem at shortstop?  Is that feasible?  Or could GM John Mozeliak be forced to go out and make a move - any move - just to get the slightest upgrade at the position?

In 291 at-bats, Kozma is hitting just .237 with a .281 on-base percentage and 60 strikeouts.  So the offense just isn’t there.  But defensively, Kozma’s 7.1 UZR (zone rating which gauges how well a player gets to balls hit in his direction) is 4th best in the major leagues. 

There’s really not much out there on the trade market since anyone the Cardinals would normally be interested in just isn’t available or costs too much.  So whoever Mozeliak could get would be a marginal upgrade at best.

Can the Cards survive with a light hitting, above average defender at such a crucial position?  That’s a question they don’t have much time left to answer.  Theoretically, that should be yes.  If the rest of the offense is clicking then it should compensate for someone such as Kozma.  But, unfortunately, the offense isn’t always clicking.  Well, I should say, every piece of the offense isn’t always clicking.

Jon Jay’s .248 average creates more of a whole in the lineup the Cards would prefer.  See, if Jay isn’t hitting then that makes a full third of the lineup (counting Kozma and the pitcher) who are easy outs.  And as long as Oscar Taveras is out with an ankle injury Jay isn’t going anywhere as the starting center fielder. 

Might Mozeliak have to get a little bit more offense at shortstop to make up for whatever offense he should be - but isn’t - getting from center?  At what price is he willing to make such a marginal upgrade?

These are all questions only a select few individuals can answer.  We’ll all find out in 11 days.
 

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