Love him or hate him.
Go nuts over the fact he’s a career .299 hitter in 926 career at-bats or be frustrated that he’s walked just 67 times in his career and has been prone to some rather extended slumps.
Jon Jay is who he is and there’s no one in sight to replace him as the man in center field.
On the current major league roster you’ve got Carlos Beltran (knees not strong enough to handle center more than on a fill-in basis) and Skip Schumaker (needed at second base plus the organization never really viewed him as a viable long-term option in center) as the only ones capable of manning that position even for a day.
Let’s travel down to the minor leagues, shall we?
In AAA-Memphis, Adron Chambers has done a nice job of turning himself into a fairly decent hitter. His .329 batting average and .405 on-base percentage this season show that. But Chambers doesn’t have the arm to play center field at the major league level. He runs like the wind. But his arm is suited for left field.
Shane Robinson? He’s had more than his share of chances.
In AA-Springfield, Oscar Taveras is, hands down, the organization’s most elite prospect. That man can hit all day, all night and in his sleep. But there’s one problem. He doesn’t cover much ground in center field and members of the Cardinals have publicly said he probably profiles best in right. Taveras might be Carlos Beltran’s replacement in a couple years.
In A-Palm Beach, that’s where the Cards have one of their first round picks, James Ramsey. The organization loves him, possibly to an unhealthy extent. But he doesn’t even have 100 ABs yet in pro ball after spending 4 years at Florida State, so he’s at least a couple years away.
Sure, the Cards could always make a trade at the deadline for some help there but aren’t many choices out there to come in and take the job away completely.
The point is...Jon Jay is 27 years old. He’s under club control for at least 3 more seasons. He plays well above average, borderline elite, defense in center field. He could probably hit .300 with one arm tied behind his back. And he doesn’t cost much money.
You’re going to have a hard time finding someone better than all of that combined.