The old expression “what a difference a day makes” doesn’t quite apply in that sense to St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras.
Change the expression to “what a difference one player makes,” and it makes more sense.
When the Cardinals pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Allen Craig and Joe Kelly to the Boston Red Sox last week, it was an unmistakable sign the Cardinals had faith in Taveras. The main reason Taveras didn’t get a lot of at-bats, besides the fact he struggled repeatedly, had to do with the presence of players like Craig in the lineup.
In a bit of a twist, the Red Sox had to place Craig on the 15-day disabled list earlier this week, so guess who missed out on facing his former team. Had Craig not been traded, Taveras would have gotten the at-bats anyway.
Taveras has had hits in seven of his last eight games, including one in the Cardinals’ 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday. He’s starting to show signs of turning things around at the plate, and that’s what the Cardinals wanted to see when they turned over the outfield to players like Taveras.
In order for the Cardinals to win and keep winning in defense of a National League Central championship, they need production from players like Taveras.
How close was Taveras to being traded? The only trade that had Taveras included in it was the one that sent Taveras and Shelby Miller to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for David Price.
Some of the best trade ideas are the ones that are not consummated. Price would have been all right, but Taveras has too much invested in the team and vice versa for the Cardinals to just give up on him now.
With the trade of Craig, Taveras looks like he has a hold on his outfield spot for the rest of the season and a more stable outlook for 2015. He can rest easier.