Feb. 17: Q of the Day

During the offseason, Jhonny Peralta was acquired to solve the revolving door at shortstop. Matt Carpenter is a solid third baseman. How will the Cards provide depth behind them? Does the team have room for both Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma on the bench?

 — Sally D., Ferguson, Mo.

Depth behind Carpenter/Peralta will most likely be provided by Descalso, who projects to be one of the two backup infielders the Cardinals keep on their 25-man roster. The other will be Mark Ellis. Descalso can play anywhere across the infield, and that versatility is valuable to the Cardinals. Ellis, while signed primarily as insurance at second base, could also be an option at third.

As for Kozma, he has a tough path to crack the roster. A year after entering the season as the team’s starting shortstop, Kozma comes to camp with no Major League job security. He’s fallen below Descalso on the depth chart, and unless the Cardinals opt to keep three infielders on their five-man bench, Kozma is likely ticketed to Memphis for the start of the season. He is still the best defensive shortstop the Cardinals have that is Major League ready, but his offensive ability hurts his case for a bench job.

* To submit a question for consideration, email me at Jenifer.Langosch@MLB.com. Include your first name, last initial and hometown.

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1 Comment

People are always touting Descalso’s versatility. I don’t necessarily buy it. He is a left-handed hitter. So he provides no platoon value for either 3B (Carpenter also left-handed) or 2B (Wong also left-handed, and Ellis will get platoon ABs). And at SS he is a liability defensively. If (a big If) Kozma hits a ton in ST, I could see them keeping him because he is an elite defensive SS, and the Cards may not be entirely sold on Peralta’s defense. Also, everyone acts like Kozma couldn’t play second or third… but it ought to tell you something that he’s significantly better at the hardest position (SS) than Descalso. Why wouldn’t he still be a better fielder than Descalso at either third or second?

Finally, everyone acts like Descalso is a much much better hitter than Kozma. He’s a little better, but he’s still a bad hitter. Kozma is a significantly better fielder and better baserunner to my eye. So it’s not as easy of a choice as people seem to believe. It’s 60-40 Descalso, not 90-10, in other words.

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