Tony LaRussa talked to the media today at the Cardinals Winter Warmup and indicated that the team has no true backup outfielder to Colby Rasmus and that he might look to an infielder to fill that role. Skip Schumaker would be the obvious choice, right? He’s right handed. A good hitter. Excellent outfield defender…
No, it’s Tyler Greene.
I honestly can’t wait for that lineup. An outfielder playing second base and an infielder playing center field. I would laugh, but I really don’t find that very funny.
The 27 year old Greene has had cups of coffee at the major league level over the past two seasons. In 92 career major league games, Greene is hitting .221 with 4 HR. In those 92 games, Greene has played 52 of them at short stop, 45 more among the other infield positions, and 1 in center field.
That is, by the way, Greene’s only outfield appearance in his professional career. He has made 539 minor league appearances, all but 10 of which are at short stop. At short stop, he’s also a worse defender than Ryan Theriot, who is a below average short stop himself.
Greene is a career .264 hitter in the minor leagues and that number is inflated by his last two seasons in Memphis, where he’s been a very solid 4-A player.
At 27, Greene is far from a prospect anymore, yet he hardly has any time in the major leagues. He’s also shown no ability to reliably hit pitching at the major league level. So we’ve got a career .221 hitter who is a subpar defensive player at every infield position set to be our primary infield utility player. This screams a problem at so many levels.
Fans will tell you, and so will management, depth was the primary issue that this team failed last year. We had a great starting lineup, but a combination of injury combined with major slumps by our middle infielders left us exposed with no viable backups. As spring training is set to open in less than a month, that same issue is glaring us right in the face again.
Nobody that we’ve signed for the bench inspires confidence in me with their ability to take over the position for two weeks and perform. The outfield looks decent with Jon Jay and Allen Craig. The infield is a disaster as we have no decent replacement for any of the four infield positions or at catcher. If Pujols, Schumaker, Theriot, Freese, or Molina go down for any major length of time, this team is screwed.
Meanwhile, Tony LaRussa tells us that Skip Schumaker is a quality second baseman. If by quality, he actually means the worst second baseman in major league baseball but the guy can hit for average, then he’s right. Moving Schumaker to center and Rasmus to a corner outfield spot would have made far more sense this year. Ryan at shortstop and Theriot at second (where he is excellent defensively). You save more runs on defense with that alignment.
With the current lineup and projected roster? The offense will need to perform or this season will be ugly. We’ll be watching Schumaker and Theriot butcher balls up the middle and Tyler Greene butchering plays in the outfield where he has virtually zero experience. I have more centerfield experience than Tyler Greene. I wonder if I could hit .220? Hmm. Anyone have John Mozeliak’s phone number?