Tommy Pham is a young player with a lot to prove at the major league level, but for now it might be best for him to catch up at AAA Memphis.
Earlier this week I wrote an article bout why Ruben Tejada should be released when Tommy Pham returned from the DL. While I still think Tejada should get the boot, sending Pham to AAA was absolutely the correct decision.
The 28 year old is a very popular figure for Cardinals fans despite only playing in 59 games in his entire career. Many Cardinals fans were upset about this move, but after looking at the details, it makes perfect sense.
The candidates to go when Pham came back consisted of Matt Adams, Brandon Moss, Ruben Tejada, Jedd Gyorko and Jeremy Hazelbaker. Adams and Moss were going nowhere after the hot streak they’ve been on and Gyorko has way too much money invested in him to let him go after just two months.
Now, we are left with the decision between Tejada, Pham and Hazelbaker. The first, and probably the most important factor is that Pham is the only one who does not have to clear waivers. If the Cardinals try to send Tejada or Hazelbaker to the minors, they face the risk of another team claiming them, or the players deciding not to report. It is assumed that Tejada will not report and after the start he’s been having, Hazelbaker would most likely be finding himself a new place to sleep.
Now, as I wrote before, losing Tejada is not a major loss for the Cardinals whatsoever. He will undoubtedly be the first to leave when starting shortstop Jhonny Peralta comes back, but for now he stays with the club. Tejada gets another life simply because of his defensive abilities. Aledmys Diaz has been tremendous at the plate but has already committed nine errors this season. His errors have come in big situations and has cost his team games. Tejada is a late inning replacement at shortstop to try to limit the damage. Gyorko simply does not have the range to effectively play the position, leaving the responsibility up to Tejada.
Mozeliak on Pham (optioned to Memphis): "I think the most important thing is he needs to be playing every day."https://t.co/VpMSd6PAxG
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) May 17, 2016
Pham’s assignment also has a lot to do with Moss’s ability to play both first base and the outfield. The Cardinals have 5 players who can play the outfield at the big league level and having Pham would be unnecessary.
The Cardinals have an influx in right handed hitting and do not need another right handed bat at the major league level. 5 out of their 8 starting fielders bat from the right side, making it easy for opposing managers to match up against them. Hazelbaker is one of the lone left handed bats in the lineup that the Cardinals need to neutralize opposing pitchers.
Pham was also sent down the minors to make sure he gets at bats. This season Pham has only recorded one at bat. He is still a young player for the future and the Cardinals need to get him work. At the AAA level he will see daily at bats instead of splitting time at the major league level.
Pham will be called up before the season ends to help the Cardinals in their postseason push. The 28 year old outfielder will have time to improve and will be a crucial part of the Cardinals roster come October.
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