According to Bernie Miklasz of stltoday.com, the Cardinals should look to upgrade in centerfield if incumbent Jon Jay doesn’t start producing like he did earlier in the season. At first thought, you would correctly think that the Cardinals actually have a surplus of outfielders — Allen Craig has been forced to become a part-time player after Lance Berkman returned from the DL to play first base, with Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday starting in the corner outfield spots. However, just because Craig has no where to play doesn’t mean that centerfield is a strength. Because of Beltran’s age, Holliday’s lack of range, and Craig’s inexperience in playing the position, centerfield has been manned by Jay. This is not to say that Jay has been bad in 2012– the 27-year-old is hitting .290 and playing solid defense. However, in his last seven games Jay is hitting just .100 with 1 RBI and 1 walk. In a time of urgency for the struggling Cardinals, that is simply not good enough.
Despite Jay’s recent struggles, it will be interesting to see if the Cardinals take Bytes’ advice. Jay is only making $504,000 this season — quite a bargain for a starting centerfielder who hit .300 in 2010 and .297 last year, and who according to these range statistics is one of the best defensive centerfielders in the game. That Holliday and Beltran are not strong fielders at this stage in their careers only makes Jay’s glove that more valuable. Also, with such a porous bullpen, should centerfield be the Cards’ priority at the trade deadline? Doesn’t this team already have enough hitting to compensate for Jay’s cold bat?