3 solutions to the Paul DeJong problem on the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals
Through 24 games and 86 plate appearances at the big league level, former NL Rookie of the Year, runner-up and 2019 All-Star Paul DeJong was one of the worst players in the entire league.
DeJong only managed 10 hits before that cardinals were forced to downgrade him to Triple-A Memphis. He had struck in 30 percent of his plate appearances in the majors, had a .130 batting average and an OPS+ of 22.
For reasons unknown, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen DeJong’s fights. He looked mediocre in 2020 but fought fiercely in 2021, releasing a .197/.284/.390 line with 85 OPS+. Luckily for him, his excellent defense at a prime position increased his overall bWAR to 1.6, despite looking lost on the plate for most of the year.
Since his demotion to Triple-A, DeJong has looked really strong in his first 27 minor league games. In 125 at-bats, DeJong has hit nine homers and hit a .246/.296/.546 line in 29 runs. He’s brought down strikeouts and already more than doubled the number of hits he had in the bigs before his demotion.
What are the Cardinals doing with DeJong after he rediscovers his stroke?
Option 1: Call him back
In DeJong’s absence, super utility man Tommy Edman has fallen short and has continued his stellar play.
The Cardinals don’t have to call DeJong, but promoting him for one last look isn’t a bad idea. After all, DeJong is a former All-Star and very popular in the St. Louis area. If the Cardinals can bring Albert Pujols back for one last nostalgic trip, they can afford to give Paul DeJong one more shot in the bigs.
DeJong, rejoining the lineup, would likely push Edman back to second base and place esteemed candidate Nolan Gorman in a utility role. Gorman is capable of playing second and both infield corners so game time is up for grabs.
Option 2: Trade with him
Luckily for the Cardinals, DeJong is currently playing a very team-friendly deal. He signed a six-year, $26 million contract extension in 2018 and is guaranteed this year and next.
Any team acting for him would need to keep him next season, but if he’s able to turn things around with a change of scene he could end up being a steal. DeJong’s contract also includes a team option for a seventh season, one that could be picked up if he can turn things around.
There’s a big list of teams out there that would benefit from a Paul DeJong being on his A-game including the Yankees, White Sox, Phillies and Padres.
For the Yankees and Padres, a DeJong acquisition would simply consist of putting a stronger hitter in the lineup in place of Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ha-Seong Kim. For the White Sox, Tim Anderson missed time this year through injury and either Anderson or DeJong could also DH once Anderson returns from the injured list. In the Phillies’ case, he would be primarily a defensive upgrade over incumbent shortstop Didi Gregorious, who is the worst defender at shortstops in the game.
Option 3: Give him more time in Triple-A
While DeJong seems to have rediscovered something that has been missing from his game for over a year, some improvements still need to be made. In years past, he’s shown the ability to hit a high batting average (.285 in 2017) and draw lots of walks (62 in 2019), but both numbers have recently fallen at both the majors and minors .
While his power punch appears to be back in action, he could afford to become a contact-oriented hitter again. His strikeouts are high, suggesting he’s swinging on too many pitches. If he manages to take things down a notch and be a little more patient on the plate, he can sit back and wait in his seat and either take a walk or rack up more base hits.
https://fansided.com/2022/06/13/cardinal-paul-dejong-problem-solutions/ 3 solutions to the St. Louis Paul DeJong problem