Cardinals demote Paul DeJong to Triple-A as shortstop’s seasonal slump continues

The Cardinals sent ailing shortstop Paul DeJong to Triple-A Memphis. Several aspects of the story are newsworthy as they involve Tommy Edman, a star prospect and DeJong’s downfall.

28-year-old DeJong was 2017 Rookie of the Year, NL runner-up and a 2019 All-Star, but the record went from bad to worse. His OPS+for example, before 2022 reached 121, 102, 99, 87 and 85 per season. This year he scores .130/.209/.208 (26 OPS+) with 25 strikeouts in 86 plate appearances.

DeJong showed so much promise early on that the Cardinals signed a six-year, $26 million contract in the spring of 2018. It also included club options for 2024 and 2025.

At least for now, the Cardinals want to go with Tommy Edman in the short term. In his time with the majors, he was a Swiss army knife on defense, having spent time in second, third, short and all three outfield positions. Edman has also blitzed up a nice offensive line, including a breakout start this season. He hits .292/.393/.458 (154 OPS+) with three doubles, two triples, three homers, 14 RBI, 18 runs and seven steals in 27 games.

And since second base is a bit open, eyes immediately go to the name Nolan Gorman. In 26 games in Triple-A this year, he’s hitting .307/.360/.693 with three doubles, 12 home runs, 18 RBI and 23 runs. Yes, he already has 12 homers and they came in 101 at-bats.

That fanfare will have to wait for now. Instead of Gorman, the Cardinals chose Kramer Robertson’s contract as the appropriate move to DeJong. Robertson, 27, has played many second, third and shortstops in the minors. In 23 Triple-A games so far this season, he’s hit .225/.380/.400 with five doubles, three homers and six stolen bases.

Edman certainly marks a defense downgrade over DeJong, but offense in the latter’s case has just become way too untenable. Also, the offensive advantage of an infield with Edman and eventually Gorman alongside Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado is enough to forget about a step back in a defensive position.

For now, the Cardinals will see if either DeJong can short his stick out in triple-A or Edman sticks. Maybe it’s time for Gorman once they have a better idea. Cardinals demote Paul DeJong to Triple-A as shortstop’s seasonal slump continues

Justin Scacco

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