Recently it was announced that when Jhonny Peralta gets back, he’ll play third base, Matt Carpenter (who is perhaps my favorite player on the team) will shift to second base, and Aledmys Diaz will stay at shortstop.
Where does that leave Kolten Wong? And before you say utility role, isn’t that what we acquired Jedd Gyorko for? We have a deep bench as is. In fact, with Peralta coming back, the bench will be *too* crowded. We’ll have four infield guys in Wong, Gyorko, Greg Garcia and Ruben Tejada.
(Edit: Tejada’s gone. My bad.)
Wong, our 25 year old second baseman, had a good year last year, hitting .262 with 11 homers and 15 stolen bases along with decent defense at second. He’s struggled this year but he’s still young and has yet to enter his prime.
Peralta, on the other hand, is 34. He admittedly did have a good year last year, hitting .271 with 17 homers and 71 RBI’s and making the All-Star team. Still, he’s past his prime at 34, isn’t very mobile (he stole 1 base last year) and relies on positioning and good hands for his defense rather than athleticism.
So we have two guys, one entering a decline phase (and don’t throw David Ortiz at me. He’s the exception, not the rule.) and one close to entering his prime.
Logic would dictate the younger player would get the most time of the two. After all, he can’t continue to develop if he doesn’t play.
Mike Matheny, however, doesn’t do logic.
Peralta, when he comes back, *will* play. Knowing Mike, he’ll play quite a bit. Wong will be limited to a bench role, or worse, be demoted to AAA to get some actual playing time.
Mike even said it once: “my job isn’t to develop players, that’s what they do at Memphis.” So Wong will either rot on the bench or head back to AAA, or even get traded. Way to show love for the possible future of the team Mike.
Plus there’s the whole “we signed Peralta for a lot of money, he’s gotta play!” thing. Big contracts don’t always guarantee performance. Just ask the Giants about Barry Zito, or the Padres about James Shields. Peralta *may* pick up where he left off last year, but it’s not a sure thing. He’ll be in the lineup regardless. Love ya Matheny…
2) Here is a creepy first pitch for you.
As always, thanks for reading.