Losers of four of their last five games -- at home, no less -- the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday announced radical changes to the makeup of a club that is once again sagging near the .500 mark.
Before their lopsided loss to the San Francisco Giants Friday night, the Birds announced that they were recalling rookie slugger Randal Grichuk in exchange for reserve outfielder Shane Robinson. Shortly after the game began came the moment for which Cardinals fans have been clamoring: The team called up top prospect Oscar Taveras who will make his debut Saturday.
It doesn't do any good to pull the rug out from beneath these players who have been working to develop their skills at Class AAA Memphis. They need to play. And that means that the Cardinals are going to depend heavily upon the pair of rookies to do a job that veteran players couldn't get done. They've got tons of talent. But it's tough to rebuild and be competitive at the same time.
It would have made more sense in my mind for the Cardinals to figure out what was going on with injured first baseman Matt Adams before they made a roster move. If they would have disabled Adams when they brought up Grichuk, St. Louis could have let him get heavy playing time for a few days and then make a decision independently about Taveras.
After Grichuk was already here, when it was decided Adams would be disabled, the Cardinals had little choice but to call up Taveras. And that move leaves them with four outfielders -- along with Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos -- to play two positions. Unless the team decides it's going to bench both veterans, the rookies are going to pay by riding the pine when they need to be taking four at-bats a day.
The best Cardinals fans can hope for is that Taveras and/or Taveras makes like Albert Pujols and continue to tear the cover off the ball at the big league level. But even the best players usually have some bumps along the way.
The real problem is now that the cork has been taken out of the bottle, it's going to be tough to put it back.
What happened when Adams comes back off the disabled list? Whose roster spot will he take? Whose playing time?
The Cardinals have put themselves in position where they're seemingly going to have to make a trade to allow the team to focus on the players the front office believes will lead it into the future.