No sooner did Oscar Taveras arrive in St. Louis than the ESPN radio affiliate in Minneapolis/St. Paul reported that the Minnesota Twins may be interested in Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay.
Jay, 28, is batting .288 with one homer and 18 runs batted in so far this season with the Redbirds. He is a career .292 hitter with a .355 on-base percentage. But he found himself in a time share in centerfield this season with former Anaheim Angel Peter Bourjos who is batting .204 with a .274 on base percentage this year.
Both Taveras and fellow rookie Randal Grichuk are capable of playing centerfield and figure to fight with the two veteran outfielders (and slugging first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig when Matt Adams comes off the disabled list) for two slots in the outfield.
Someone needs to go. But I'm not sure it's Jay because of his vastly superior offensive numbers. The statistics say that Bourjos is the best outfielder in the group. But his play this season hasn't lived up to his reputation. He has a knack for falling short of fly balls and has made a couple of ugly plays including a dive in which he missed connections with the baseball Friday night.
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I'm not sure that Bourjos, who was supposedly happy to escape Anaheim because he was never able to hold onto a spot in the starting lineup there, would be content to be a fifth outfielder in St. Louis. On the other hand, he probably has virtually no trade value at this point. So would the Cardinals release him for nothing in return?
I thought, dating back to last season, that Adams was the mostly likely to go because he can only play first base and he's a lefty hitter. With the lefty Taveras in the lineup alongside Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter and potentially Jay, that's too many lefties.
If Adams was traded to a team that needs a slugging first baseman/designated hitter type, Allen Craig's righty bat could return to first base and there would be room for Taveras to play every day in right.
But Adams' recent injury probably takes him off the trade market. And I wonder if his value has cratered because he's chosen to become an opposite field singles hitter instead of a pull-happy slugger.
If the Cardinals were to trade with Minnesota, I wonder what Jay could fetch in return. Fans on the Twins chat boards seemed to think that a middling prospect sounded fair. Although other snarkily suggested that the Twins should offer former catcher Joe Mauer who is off to a slow start in his role as a converted first baseman.
Ironically, Mauer was the American League answer to Albert Pujols when the pair were nearing free agency at the same time, threatening to leave their small market clubs. Mauer signed with the Twins before he hit the open market -- and now Minnesota seems to regret his crippling contract -- while Pujols walked and the Cardinals were able to gain some financial flexibility to extend Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina.