Cheap Seats

To the chagrin of some, Pete Kozma remains

It seems a segment of St . Louis Cardinals fans is pretty disappointed to see that infielder Pete Kozma didn’t get the short haircut when Stephen Piscotty was added to the roster today.

I don’t get how they were ever under the impression Kozma was about to be designated for assignment.

Sure, Kozma’s offensive statistics are dismal this season. In very limited use, he’s batting .153 with no extra-base hits and two runs batted in. There’s no argument that those numbers aren’t very good.

But Kozma’s batting average isn’t why he’s on the roster. In short, Kozma is the only guy currently in the St. Louis organization who is capable of playing for an extended period of time at the most demanding infield position should Jhonny Peralta suffer a long-term injury.

Unless the Cardinals can make a trade for a major league shortstop, Kozma is here to stay.

Alex Mejia is holding down the position in Class AAA Memphis. He’s hitting a respectable .280. But he’s only got 29 games under his belt at the top level of the minor leagues. It would be a tough spot to expect him to step in and play everyday during the pressure of a pennant race.

Maybe he’ll be ready next year. But it’s a stretch right now.

Former shortstop Greg Garcia wasn’t moved to second base because the Cardinals have a glut of major league-ready shortstops. It was because he’s not a very good fielder. So it would be difficult to imagine him playing 50 games at short in the big leagues.

Memphis utility infielder Dean Anna is a career .130 hitter in the big leagues.

The Cardinals are so unimpressed with the progress of Aledmys Diaz that they took him off the 40-man roster earlier this season at the risk of losing him via waivers.

So, it’s fairly obvious that the Cardinals have few options for backup shortstops and, while he leaves something to be desired, he’s the best they have.

If the Redbirds were to make a trade deadline move, I wondered if shortstop could be a target. Not because Jhonny Peralta is expendable. But because he is an average fielder who is more valuable for his bat than his glove.

Could St. Louis trade for a shortstop and move Peralta to first base for the rest of the year?

Remember, Peralta was signed to his back-loaded contract because it was expected he’s eventually have to be moved away from short and would become less valuable.

So it would’t be a shocking move to move him to a less demanding defensive position to keep his bat in the order.

I doubt St. Louis is going to make a deal for slugging Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki at this point. But would the rebuilding Boston Red Sox part with Xander Boegaerts (.309/3/44) or would Miami part with Adeiny Hechavarria (.277/4/36)?

Short of a bold and unexpected move like that, I’d imagine Kozma is here at least for the rest of the season.