Happy trails, Tyler Greene

At first I thought it was a joke. Something I never thought would happen. Let alone in the middle of a season when he’s our only right-handed infielder who doesn’t already have a locked in starting job. A little more research confirmed the tweet I saw: Tyler Greene was traded to Houston.

After the struggling Greene lashed out at Cardinals’ fans following a 15-0 loss to the Giants where he went 0-for-3 and made a costly error in the 6th inning that led to the Giants posting a crooked number, it was only a matter of time. Likely frustrated at both his own inability to perform, the mistake he made being so costly, and the fans reaction, he responded to a question about it with, “Then don’t come to the game. Just cheer for your team. That’s all I can say about that.”

Word came this morning that the Astros claimed Greene off of waivers. Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ General Manager, was the Cardinals’ Vice President of Player Development when the team drafted Greene in the first round of the 2005 draft. They worked out a deal for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Prompted at least one person on Twitter to wonder out loud if it was like the Victor Marte deal where the Cardinals got him last April from Kansas City for $1 worth of cash considerations.

I second Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak’s opinion. “I’m sad to see him go, but I know that this could be one of the best things that ever happened to him in his career.” Okay, well except that “sad to see him go” part.

This could be the best thing to ever happen to Tyler Greene. Like Colby Rasmus, maybe Greene just doesn’t have the mindset to play in St. Louis where fans on the whole pay attention to the details. So when a guy is struggling, we know. When a guy is hot, we know.  Tyler Greene would also have to work doubly hard to overcome our previous preconceptions about the player he is as well.

He will be moved to a team where he will be given every opportunity to succeed by the GM that had a hand in drafting him. He will also likely get his chance at shortstop, given that Houston has the highly regarded Jose Altuve at second base. That may be where he is most comfortable, he’s hit best (well slightly better) when he’s been the shortstop of record in a game. Of course, hitting .313/.405/.656 for his career in 13 games in Minute Maid Park doesn’t hurt either.

But Tyler Greene missed one key point in his comments following last night’s game. When he missed that double play ball in the sixth inning and the fans began to boo, they weren’t booing him.

I have nothing against Tyler Greene. I’m sure most fans don’t either. I’m sure he’s a great guy. He certainly seems like he’d be fun to hang out with. He’s obviously a hard worker and gives 100%. The results just have never come at the major league level. Sure he’ll put together a great game or two, but it’s followed by a few weeks of struggles.

What I feel most of the fans were booing is the situation we found ourselves in with Tyler Greene.

A first round pick that the organization invested millions of dollars in bonus money and salary. These are the guys that are supposed to turn into quality, contributing players in the major leagues. To me (and many others) it was clear that Greene was not ready to be in St. Louis to begin this season, but he was out of options. The Cardinals had to keep him or place him on waivers.

The team, unwilling to acknowledge their mistake, held onto him and kept in him St. Louis. Less than 5 months later, we reached the tipping point. It was time to move on. In many fans’ minds, finally. The fact that the team didn’t have someone ready to take his place on the roster today tells you how quickly this came together. Part of me wonders if the team was getting ready to send him to Memphis, hence the waiver trip.

He had some good moments in Cardinal red. A couple of game winning plays. Unfortunately the bad moments outnumber the good and that’s what most Cardinal fans will remember.

I do wish he had become the player we all wanted him to be. The guy with power and speed and the guy we all saw in Memphis the last few years. I wish him all the best in Houston.

Get ready though, we probably get to do this again soon with Pete Kozma. Anyone taking bets on what AL West team he’ll end up playing for?