Pete Kozma has become something of a running joke for his lack of hitting for the St. Louis Cardinals. However, to be fair, right now his 2013 .217 BA looks like Ty Cobb compared to Jhonny Peralta‘s .151. Peralta has displayed more power, and is good for about 15 pokes per season, but he is by no means Troy Tulowitzki at the plate or in the field.
As for Kozma, he seems to be victimized by a sports radio mentality that has infiltrated the front office of the club. All throughout last season we heard consistent complaints about Kozma’s lack of hitting, and realistically, he was very poor. But then again, the club seemed to take no responsibility for improving it either. And looking at the punchless bunch of Redbirds that are swinging spaghetti noodles this season, it is easier to think that it is perhaps a hitting coach problem, and not a talent problem.
But the Cardinals, in recent years, have moved away from farm boy loyalty, being much quicker to discard its homegrown talent. Be it Jon Jay, Kozma or even the urban legend that is Oscar Taveras, GM John Mozeliak has been quick to hit the free agent market or make trades. Sometimes these work out, a lot of times they don’t.
But the overriding concern is that, with the exception of pitching, very little organizational commitment is shown to farm talent once they arrive. We saw this with Colby Rasmus, as well. And while that trade netted components to help bring the club a championship, one has to wonder what exactly is the purpose to all of this stockpiling of high end talent?
Is Taveras coming or not? What message is sent to Kolten Wong when you sign Mark Ellis? It seems this philosophy, or lack thereof, might be starting to fray the chemistry in the clubhouse. This team can’t hit right now because it is too patient. It seems the opposite problem infects the front office.