Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Matt Adams
Season stats: 27 G, 60 PA, 5 R, 9 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 18 K, .158/.200/.333, 43 OPS+, -0.3 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 3, Goat 1
Overall grade: D+
Positives: A third of his hits in St. Louis were home runs and 44% went for extra bases….didn’t play any outfield after returning to St. Louis….hit .220 on the year with a home run against left-handed pitching, which is something considering his career line is .208….two of the homers and four of the RBI came against his old Nationals team in a game in early September….had two different two-hit outings in the 12 starts he had for the Cardinals.
Negatives: Those two hit games means that 44% of his hits came in two games while five came in the other 25….brought in to provide power off the bench but all of his homers came in starts (his double was a pinch-hit, though)….was 1-9 pinch-hitting in September….ended the season in a 1-for-17 skid….made two errors in 104.2 innings at first base wearing the birds on the bat, belying his normally stellar first base defense.
Overview: The reunion of Matt Adams to the team that drafted him was a great story. The problem was Adams had been on the DL with a broken thumb earlier in the season and the power just never fully returned. Adding a fully functioning Adams would have been a great stroke for the team, allowing Matt Carpenter some rest while giving a threat in the late innings on a regular basis. Thankfully, Adams was a waiver claim so all the Cardinals gave up was money to pay him the rest of the year. If nothing else, it was good to see Big City and he may have a John Mabry-like career where he plays for St. Louis a number of times as his career goes forward.
Outlook: Adams is a free agent and will probably get a spot as a bench bat for someone, given how well the earlier part of his season went. It just doesn’t seem like it will be with the Cardinals, who have enough 40-man issues without keeping a guy that may or may not be able to regain his power. I think Adams is a National League player, especially with his usually reliable glove at first, so I could see him maybe joining up with Pittsburgh or San Francisco on a one-year deal.