MLB Trade Rumors was reporting last night based on information from ESPN New York that the Cardinals have made shortstop Pete Kozma available on the trade market. With Jhonny Peralta set to take over for him at shortstop this year, Pete Kozma looks like he may not even make the major league club this spring and be relegated to Triple-A Memphis.
What might Kozma net in a trade? The answer is not much.
Consider that Brendan Ryan was coming off a very similar offensive campaign in 2010 when the Cardinals traded him to the Mariners for Maikel Cleto. Ryan’s OPS+ that season was 57, compared to Kozma’s 54 OPS+ this last season. Meanwhile, Ryan is easily the better defensive shortstop.
Granted the market for guys who can play shortstop is remarkably slim and there are some openings. For example, the Tigers recently lost Jose Iglesias, the shortstop they acquired from Boston last season to replace Jhonny Peralta, for at least half a year with a leg injury. This is probably just the Cardinals checking the price tag to see if it’s worthwhile trading Kozma. Since it won’t be, he’s probably not going anywhere.
And do the Cardinals even want to trade him? Consider who would be playing shortstop if Peralta were to get injured. Daniel Descalso? He proved last season that while he can handle the position in a pinch, he’s not an everyday shortstop. Behind Kozma, the cupboard is very bare. There is Greg Garcia in Memphis, but there have been longstanding doubts whether he can stick at shortstop in the majors.
As much as I’m not Pete Kozma fan, the organization does still need him. For now.