The St. Louis Cardinals simply have to make a move with Peter Bourjos. It can't wait any longer.
On Friday he was called to the plate as a pinch hitter and he struck out pathetically, his 18th whiff in 51 at-bats. That lowered his season batting average to .157 with an equally discouraging .246 on-base percentage.
The rowdy members of the Bourjos Apologists Society of America say it's manager Mike Matheny's fault that Bourjos can't hit because Matheny doesn't let him start consistently. I don't buy it because somehow reserve catcher Tony Cruz has hit .333 in only 19 plate appearances and starting pitcher Adam Wainwright is hitting .375 in 20. Jon Jay didn't whine when Bourjos was making most of the starts. He simply made the most of his opportunities and won his job back.
Being a major leaguer means being ready to play every day, no matter the circumstances. There are no guarantees in life. If he can't play a reserve role, Bourjos' value to this team is significantly decreased.
Never miss a local story.
Still, I think it doesn't do Bourjos much good to pinch hit three or four times a week and then to ride the pine the rest of the time if he can't be productive. Effectively, the Cardinals are playing with a 24-man roster instead of the allowed 25 players. I think, at this point, the best thing to do would be to send him down to Class AAA Memphis to give him a chance to regain his stroke and to try to prove that he deserves a second chance in St. Louis. Someone who can make a more meaningful contribution can be added to the roster.
It seems inevitable that the Birds will soon summon top prospect Oscar Taveras, hitting .313 with five homers and healthy after his nightmarish ankle injury in 2013, to the big leagues to start in centerfield. And when that happens, Bourjos would likely disappear at the end of the St. Louis bench even if Randal Grichuk is returned to Memphis.
It wouldn't surprise me if Grichuk was called up before Taveras to examine his abilities as a back-up outfielder in the big leagues because they Cardinals know once Taveras is up, Bourjos has no future here. They needed to see if Grichuk could back up in centerfield if Taveras is again injured. And, instead of sending down Boujos, the plan may to be to release him.