Posted on May 4, 2014 at 3:13 PM
Monday, May 5 at 2:21 PM
(Baseball STL) -- When GM John Mozeliak traded David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Angels in return for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk I'm no so sure he envisioned this. Sure, Grichuk has earned himself a promotion after getting off to a fast start in AAA.
But Bourjos was supposed to come in and solidify center field. He was supposed to significantly upgrade the defense there and provide some speed on the bases. He was supposed to make a difference.
Instead of making a difference he's riding the bench with just eight hits in 51 at-bats (that's a .157 average for those scoring at home).
Just weeks into the 2014 season it appears the Cardinals are bailing on their offseason acquisition in favor of a guy - Jon Jay - who has hit .188 in 160 career postseason at-bats and played some brutal defense last year during the stretch run.
Prospects timetables are being rushed. Randal Grichuk was promoted not solely because of his ability but more because of a need offensively. Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty are on the brink as well.
One has to wonder what the Cardinals really thought of Bourjos in the first place if they were so quick to make a change with him after just a few weeks. Jhonny Peralta isn't doing much better (.219 batting average with a .299 on-base percentage) yet he continues to play everyday. Is that due to the $50-plus million dollar contract he signed this offseason or the fact no one else of note can play shortstop?
Anyone who follows the Cardinals minor league system knows full well Taveras and possibly even Piscotty and/or Grichuk represent the future in the Cardinals outfield. Was it just a matter of time anyway until Bourjos was replaced by one of those guys? Regardless of how he did on the field?
It hardly matters now. The Cardinals appear to have seen all they need to see with Bourjos as the starting center fielder. He's now relegated to bench duty as a defensive replacement. Plus, with these prospects coming, he could be facing a challenge to even keep that role.