ST. LOUIS – When the Cardinals felt they had been very “positive and patient” with Paul DeJong, the Cardinals chose the struggling shortstop for Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday when “bat-bats looked alike and the adjustment did not come” and started the process of finding their next long-term shortstop.
On Tuesday, when the Cardinals hosted the Orioles at Busch Stadium for the first time since 2003, the shortstop job fell on the shoulders of rookie Brendan Donovan, who became the first player since 1900 to make his first four MLB starts at four different infield positions. . Tommy Edman, the Gold Glove winner at second base last season, will get more pregame work on shortstop in the coming days and may soon see time there. Edmundo Sosa will also complete a two-game rehearsal at Double-A Springfield on Wednesday and could potentially play for the Cardinals later this week.
As for the status of DeJong, who only beat 0.130 in 24 games, the Cardinals staff met on the team plane Sunday night on their way home from San Francisco and again in St. Louis. Louis Monday. The decision to opt for their full-time shortstop since 2017 for the minors was made ahead of Tuesday’s match.
“It’s never easy conversations, and we once knew that we should briefly explore the possibilities, that it was not a move where you just play the other guy and Paulie sits on the bench; it would be a move where he went down, ”said Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol. “I feel like we were, collectively as an organization, positive and patient through that process. It didn’t look any better so the move was made.”
DeJong’s previous matches undoubtedly played a role in the relegation. The card stopper hit 30 homeruns in 2019, but he was never able to find that form again while battling wrist and rib injuries. He hit .250 with just three homeruns in 2020, and he dropped to .197 in ’21, while briefly losing the shortstop job to Sosa. DeJong worked the entire offseason with a percussion coach and showed signs of having a breakout season, especially when he struck an opposite field homerun on opening day in a 9-0 win over the Pirates. However, DeJong’s bat did not continue to show progress over the last month, leading to Tuesday’s move.
“It’s not an easy decision and it’s something we’ve been working on over the last few days, but when you think about what’s best for him, what’s best for the organization and this club right now, it would be hard to get him at-bats and get him right and win big league level matches, “said Cardinal’s president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.” Our hope is that he will rejoin this club and be a productive member. , as we saw before the pandemic season. Right now he understands he needs to go down and pick up his work and we have not set a schedule for that.
“It’s coming down to production,” Mozeliak added. “He took it like a professional and he understood it. It does not mean he was happy with it, but he understood it. In the end, he wants to come back here, and that is the hope.”
As much as DeJong struggled at the plate, he thrived defensively this season for a Cardinals team that already has five current Gold Glove winners. Only the Astros’ Jeremy Pena (+7) has saved more defensive runs this season than DeJong (+4). But he was ultimately regretted by the lack of record progress, Marmol said.
“It was a matter of time based on the amount of opportunities that were given,” Marmol said of DeJong, who has 72 hours to report to the Memphis Redbirds, who play a series in Norfolk, Va. “I think there’s an adjustment that needs to be made. To be made both physically and mentally. The ability to go down there and get a reset, he’s going to have to make actual physical changes so the result looks different. The ball will tell you what’s going on and it’s a lot [popups]. He has to go down there and show that adjustments are being made and that production is there. ”
Marmol said he has had talks with Edman – a shortstop at Stanford College – about working more at that position to be ready for a potential switch. The Cardinals had been hesitant to move Edman considering he has been one of the league’s most productive players offensively and defensively this season.
“Defense is important, but at some point we need to find the right mix of defense and scoring,” Marmol said. “Tommy got some pre-match work done today and he will get some more tomorrow. We will definitely keep that conversation open. Right now it’s foreplay. Tommy, when he talks to him, he is very pleasant in both ways [playing shortstop or second base]. He took earth balls and threw across [the diamond] today and had a good time with it. He is confident in his ability to play cards. “