It's all very fascinating how people hang on every word uttered about Oscar Taveras for clues about when he's going to be called up to the big leagues.
Isn't it obvious when the St. Louis Cardinals have a slugging outfielder who is hitting .323 with power in Class AAA and a major league team that struggles to put runs on the board that a meeting is inevitable?
It's just silly that people are worked up because general manager John Mozeliak continues to claim the Cardinals just don't have room for such a player in the big leagues. Really?
Of course the Cardinals, who have a first baseman/clean-up hitter who can't hit with runners in scoring position and a centerfield tandem that hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard, either, could find some way to get enough at bats for poor slugging Oscar to keep him from spending his entire career in the minor leagues.
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Oh, they say Poor Oscar can't play centerfield. Nevermind that the general manager ordered that he spend most of his time playing that position in Memphis. Why? Just for the fun of it? Because he can?
The ONLY reason Taveras hasn't been called up yet is because the Cardinals are trying to keep him from reaching the arbitration process and free agency a year earlier by calling him up now instead of after the calendar turns to June.
So why would Mozeliak claim there is no place for Taveras to play? Well... Because he doesn't want the MLB Players Association to file a grievance claiming that Taveras was unfairly held back to limit his earning potential. So he makes the case that this is all for Taveras' own good, because he couldn't possibly command at-bats presently given to .210 hitting Peter Bourjos, blah, blah, blah.
That's just the way things work.
The only interesting wrinkle in this situation is that Adams has an apparent leg injury and St. Louis seems as if it might have to send him to the disabled list before the club is ready to summon Taveras.
What a coincidence that Mozeliak gave the interview yesterday, when the Birds knew Adams was hurt, in which he said that said the team would prefer to call Randal Grichuk back -- who has already had his MLB clock started when he was in the big leagues earlier in May -- if it doesn't have the at-bats for Taveras to play everyday. And, by his account, it doesn't.
Now there is a public question that will be decided not by free agency or compensation but solely by playing time. Your honor, may I submit Exhibit A into evidence? (Previous articles about it being the perfect time to call up Taveras in April when the Cardinals will need a designated hitter for interleague games is Exhibit B of the GM's case.)
I strongly suspect, if Adams is disabled, that Grichuk will get the call and be here for a few days until the team suddenly has a change of heart and decides, surprise! It has found enough at-bats for top prospect Taveras after all! Right after the Super Two deadline has passed, too! (Unless the team is getting pressure behind the scenes from Taveras' ever-changing agent. Then maybe Mozeliak will decide he fought the good fight and it's time to roll the dice with a promotion.)
I don't blame Mozeliak for the way he's handled this situation. In fact, I applaud him for the way he has handled it. The Cardinals didn't hand Taveras a job in spring training. They made him go to Memphis to prove he's healthy and that he deserves to play in St. Louis. That's the way it should be. The reason pressure is being applied is because Taveras has done his part. It may be a painful situation for a couple of weeks. But it is in the long term best interests of this franchise to maintain control of its players as long as possible -- and for as reasonable of a price as possible. So there are no complaints about that.
And, as far as the fibs that are being told about the reasons why he hasn't already arrived: That's the job of a general manager. Just like it's his job to say that he's not going to trade Player X no matter what in order to drive up his market or to say I am not interested in Free Agent Y to keep from fueling the feeding frenzy. Of course, I paraphrase. Mozeliak would actually say something about lacking "traction," "internal options" and searching for "low-hanging fruit" and then he'd go about his business while we all tried to interpret what the heck he was talking about.