For Better or Worse, The St. Louis Cardinals Need To Release Mark Ellis, Promote Kolten Wong
Mark Ellis seems like a perfectly nice fellow. He is a hard worker, a good teammate and an all around class act. Throughout his career he has been a steadying influence on those younger players who need to see what work can do to supplement talent. So it is not with pleasure I say these next words — he has to go. The St. Louis Cardinals simply do not need four second-basemen. With Daniel Descalso, Greg Garcia and Kolten Wong knocking at the door, there is no room for the affable, but limited, Ellis.
Now in his late 30s, Ellis’ OPS of .510 is simply unacceptable to a club that expects to contend. While he has been handy with the glove, his range is very limited and nowhere near what Wong can bring. For Wong’s part, since being demoted to AAA Memphis, he has torn up the PCL to the tune of a .344 average. Along with Oscar Taveras, he is basically kicking down the door to the majors. The Cardinals, inexplicably, are leaving their best players in Memphis. It needs to stop.
Veteran presence aside, it is nice for the club to have actual upside to its starters. Wong is multi-tooled, and as he grows into his frame he may become a full five-tool guy, not unlike Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. His talent is tantalizing, and for a club in need of a skill infusion, it is absolutely puzzling why he was even sent down. The keys to 2B must be turned over to the youngster for the remainder of the season, and the Cardinals must, for better or worse, be patient and give him his shot. Too good for Memphis, he needs to be in St. Louis or shipped; anything less would be nonsensical.
Ideally, he would be paired with Garcia at SS giving the Cardinals a dynamic speed, OBP and defensive middle infield. Moving Peralta to third would be no problem, allowing Allen Craig to go to first, Matt Carpenter to go to RF and Matt Adams to be shipped off for hopefully (a boy can dream can’t he?) a package that brings the Boston Red Sox‘ Jon Lester. It will be quite the interesting summer in Baseball Heaven. But the talent needs to come out of purgatory.