The St. Louis Cardinals have recalled fifth outfielder Shane Robinson from Class AAA Memphis, returning Joey Butler to the minor leagues.
Some might think the St. Louis front office is trying to prove some kind of point by summoning every outfielder not named Oscar Taveras to the big leagues. But this move makes a lot of sense in the short term.
Shane Robinson, who was cooling on the Cardinals bench before being sent down, has had a chance to get his stroke and his timing back in Memphis where he was hitting .371 in 62 at-bats.
Butler was batting .360 in Class AAA when he was called up. But he was getting the same treatment Robinson had previously. In only six trips to the plate in St. Louis, Butler was hitless with three strikeouts.
If you're going to have a fifth outfielder who isn't going to make much of an offensive contribution, it might as well be a guy who is a decent flychaser. Butler is a left fielder, where Matt Holliday seems to be entrenched. He doesn't feel comfortable in right and he isn't capable of covering the ground in center. So he was, basically, a pinch hitter only.
Robinson can play all three outfield spots pretty well. So not only does he have defensive value. He can also get into games in double switches and that sort of thing which could offer him more at-bats than Butler could command.
I was surprised by the Cardinals' interest in Butler when he was acquired. After all, they have a ton of outfield talent and, while Butler has an interesting bat, he's probably the least interesting prospect out of the group of Taveras, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk. And that's just the guys already at Class AAA.