The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: Greg Garcia
Season stats: 14 games, 18 PA, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, .143/.333/.214 58 OPS+
Overall grade: C
Positives: Won a game with a walk-off hit-by-pitch, which is a feat 99% of baseball players will never do….had a solid year in the minors, hitting .275/.358/.385 mainly in Memphis….made it into five September games after being recalled when the rosters expanded, though three of them were as a pinch-runner.
Negatives: Never seemed to get a chance to do much, making only two starts all year long….his last hit of the season was on May 11; went 0-6 over the next five months….struck out almost 100 times in the minors, or around 22% of the time.
Overview: You’d think, on a cost-conscious, use-the-minors team like the Cardinals, they’d have tried to give Garcia more of a chance rather than continuing to run Daniel Descalso or Mark Ellis out to back up the middle infield. After all, Garcia put up a .761 OPS at Memphis in 2013 and while you couldn’t expect that to directly translate to the big leagues, he should have had some value to this squad.
It was quite frustrating in the first half of the season to see Descalso, not hitting his weight, continue to get opportunities while Garcia languished or was toiling in Memphis. Even Garcia’s high point of the season, when he won that game on a HBP, was sullied by a demotion the very next day. We don’t know what goes on in the locker room or in Matheny’s mind, but the lack of use of Garcia was puzzling, to say the least.
Outlook: All that said, Descalso is going to be getting pricey in a year or two. As I said on his Interview, I expect we’ll see a bit more of Garcia this season as they set up a transition in the scrappy backup infielder role. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Garcia start the year with the big club, depending on what other moves they make this offseason.