The 2016 season is finally complete and many Cardinals fans, myself included, breathed a sigh of relief. As I admitted to my wife almost a week ago, I was okay with the Cardinals missing the playoffs this season because I was tired of hoping. Tired of hoping that this team would find the next gear. Tired of hoping that they would click. Tired of hoping that things would finally fall their way. Tired of hoping they’d flip the switch.
If you’re like me, I was really excited at the prospect of bringing in Mike Leake. As I wrote last winter, my expectations for Leake were high because he’s a ground ball pitcher who is coming from one of baseball’s hitter’s paradises to one of the most pitcher friendly ballparks in the league. That should have meant the potential for a career year.
And he’s had it. The results just haven’t shown it.
The MLB All Star Game will be played tomorrow night and, for the first time since the 2007 season and just the fifth time in the last 20 seasons, the Cardinals will not have a player starting the All Star Game.
Matt Carpenter had been the team’s chosen representative before he was injured last week and replaced by Aledmys Diaz. Diaz though is very worthy successor, batting .315 with 13 HR this year and, with a 141 OPS+, is the Cardinals’ second best hitter behind Carpenter.
I had a piece outlined for today that was going to argue that optioning Kolten Wong to Memphis was not only the best decision for the Cardinals to make to create room for Jhonny Peralta‘s return, but the only one that really made sense. The two other obvious possibilities for the Cardinals were Greg Garcia and Jeremy Hazelbaker. But then Mo had to go and ruin it as the team announced that Wong was headed for Memphis with Peralta expected to be recalled tomorrow.
If we ever needed an example of why most players play through injuries rather than risk a disabled list trip to make sure they’re at 100%, we need to look no further than Ruben Tejada.
Following the injury to Jhonny Peralta, the Cardinals signed Ruben Tejada after he was cut by the Mets. The Cardinals optioned Aledmys Diaz to the minors after signing Tejada and Tejada was widely viewed as the team’s starting shortstop. When Tejada got hurt near the end of spring training, it was a good thing for him that Jeremy Hazelbaker got the roster spot instead.