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Could Jon Jay be traded?

One year ago, the St. Louis Cardinals made a difficult decision to trade their former two-time minor league Player of the Year, who was then and now a cost-controlled centerfielder in Colby Rasmus.

While the deal delivered much-needed pitching to the Cardinals as they continued on their way toward a World Championship, it also created a full-time job for Jon Jay. The now-27-year-old joined the organization a year and a round after Rasmus, after being selected in the second-round of the 2006 draft.

Jay has been a streaky player in his three partial seasons as a major leaguer, having experienced several exciting highs offensively. They include a 1.017 OPS in May 2011, a mark which may have eased some of the Cardinals potential concern with trading Rasmus.

Jay followed his May 2011 peak with his worst month that season, a .658 mark last June. Since then, Jay did not have a monthly OPS approaching .800 until his promising .958 mark to open this season in April.

After time on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury incurred in a collision with the outfield wall, Jay’s offense had declined until a recent upturn when has collected seven hits in his last three games. The situation led one local columnist to suggest the club should add a right-handed hitting complement to share centerfield with the left-handed hitting Jay.

I had already been thinking about the subject, but to an even greater extreme.

What if the Cardinals repeated their June 2011 action by trading away their young centerfielder in a parallel move to strengthen their pitching?

Why might the Cardinals consider such a move with Jay?

After all, the in-house replacements in centerfield, Skip Schumaker, Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers, are not overly exciting. Still, they might be considered adequate in holding down the fort for awhile. The long-term answer may not be all that far away.

The organization has been grooming its top position player prospect, Oscar Taveras, as a centerfielder. It is unclear whether Taveras can remain at the position over a major league career, but it is clear the Cardinals are aiming him in that direction.

Past concerns with Taveras have been more about his focus and concentration than his considerable talents. Having just turned 20, the left-handed hitter is leading the Texas League in batting average after being named the MVP of their All-Star Game.

Even if Taveras doesn’t make St. Louis this season – which would still have to be considered a long shot to occur – the recent direct-to-St. Louis promotion of his Springfield teammate Trevor Rosenthal serves as a vivid and very fresh reminder. The distance between the two levels is not as great as it once may have appeared.

If the Cardinals are unwilling to deal their top prospects, who might be made available in trade? Losing reserve position players such as Matt Carpenter and Tyler Greene or inconsistent relievers Eduardo Sanchez and Maikel Cleto would hurt the Cardinals less, but it may take more than that to land impact major league talent in return.

Jay could have appeal to several potential suitors. Though aging Ichiro had vacated centerfield prior to his surprising trade to the Yankees, last-place Seattle needs help almost everywhere. San Diego is in the same boat, with two young outfielders in Cameron Maybin and Will Venable suffering through disappointing seasons.

Then there is Miami. What better angle might the Marlins devise in a new attempt to revive fan interest following the opening of their new ballpark than to acquire a hometown favorite, a former University of Miami star in Jay?

Incumbent Marlins centerfielder Emilio Bonifacio steals bases, but offers little else in terms of standout skills. Further, there is a clear opening. With Monday’s trade of Omar Infante, Bonifacio should be moving to second base.

So as the Fish embark on yet another fire sale, who better would fit their needs than a cost-controlled Miami native?

I want to be clear that I have no idea if this will happen. I am only wondering out loud if it could and if so, why and how it might come about.

What do you think?

Would you trade Jon Jay?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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61 Responses to “Could Jon Jay be traded?”

  1. blingboy says:

    As soon as the talk about it started he began to heat back up. But it seems clear by now that Jay is just too streaky for a top of the lineup hitter, which is what we need from him. I think that is true even considering he may or may not be feeling lingering injury issues. Of course, we’d need somebody to hit up there.

    I voted second baseman because Skip would have to play a lot of CF. Which I don’t mind so much, but he’s turned himself into a pretty good second baseman, whatever the wonks say.

    I know the thinking is why block Wong, but by the same token, why block Oscar.

    • crdswmn says:

      I assume by “wonks” you mean sites like Fangraphs.

      Between 2009 and 2011 UZR/150 rankings for 2B. Best: Howie Kendrick 19.7 Worst: Skip Schumaker -17.2

      Now there are those in the stat world that don’t find defensive metrics to be all that. So I add that in fairness to Skip.

      Skip has hit well for us this year, and has come through for us often. He hasn’t been obviously terrible playing second base in the limited time he has played there this year. He is very popular on a personal level (I like him a lot myself) which tends to skew people’s point of view, after all we are all human.

      The 3 person platoon of Skip, Descalso and Greene has been adequate this year and I don’t mind continuing that. Making Skip the permanent starter at second I think is asking for trouble, however.

      Hopefully, this will all become moot when Wong arrives.

      • blingboy says:

        Skips UZR in the past, when he was learning the position at the big league level, doesn’t matter. You left out the part about now. I think its -0.4, which is essentially average. His bat looks real good for a middle infielder. So the total package is pretty good.

        • crdswmn says:

          It doesn’t matter to you. It matters a heck of a lot to many other people. You also can’t assume that he is now an average second basemen because his UZR is “average” for 27 games but way below average for 351. Sounds like a lot of rationalizing and cherry picking and small sample sizing to me.

          • blingboy says:

            If 2009 matters then you should love Fuentes.

            • crdswmn says:

              More cherry picking. ALL years should matter.

              • crdswmn says:

                And BTW, 2008 was Fuentes’ best year, when he was a 2.4 WAR pitcher with a 2.24 FIP. He has been in a steady decline ever since.

                • blingboy says:

                  Careful, ‘steady decline’ is sort of like ‘trend line’. Which implies now matters more than then. You will be shunned.

                  Besides, it seems like Fuentes in the pen and Skip in the lineup are inevitable. I can’t imagine either having much to with whether the Cards can turn it around.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    Well, let’s just say that I find a decline over 4 years and 206 games more compelling than an
                    “improvement” over half a season and 27 games.

                    Skip “in the lineup” I don’t mind as long as it isn’t Skip “in the lineup” everyday at 2B or CF.

                    • blingboy says:

                      In 2009 Fuentes led the league in saves and was an all star, yet it was a ‘decline’ year. How funny. I wonder if the wonks recognized the ominous signs.

                      I prefer to rely on what I see in the real world right now and I don’t think Skip in the lineup, however often, is part of the problem.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      It was a decline in the sense that it was not as good as 2008. His K/9 went from 11.78 to 7.53. His FIP went from 2.24 to 4.42. He went from 2.4 WAR to 0.3 WAR. Yet his game and innings pitched were roughly equivalent both years. 2009 is also the year his fastball velocity started to decline.

                      Surely you jest in suggesting that being voted as an All Star means anything other than he was a popular dude.

                    • blingboy says:

                      Perhaps we can agree that Fuentes is less good and Skip is less bad?

                    • crdswmn says:

                      We can agree that you like Skip and Fuentes as players better than I do. Whether they are good or bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion, even for “wonks” 😉

                    • Nutlaw says:

                      You guys just had a very long discussion including WAR, FIP, and UZR. I think that you’ve both shifted into “wonk” territory more than you might care to admit. I’m so proud!

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    All hitters have ups and downs, so all could all be labelled streaky. Jay is less streaky than many. Three team ML manager Jim Riggleman predicted Jay could compete for a batting title. His first two seasons in the majors, Jay averaged around .300. He is north of .300 again. Players often improve during years 3 to 5, so Jay has potential to lift his game to new heights.

    Both of Jay’s HRs during 2012 came at the onset, before running into a wall. Even if his right shoulder is no longer in need of more cortisone, as he claims, something may have shifted and he may need a shoulder cleanup operation after the season. When healthy, Jay is superior to Skip and Chambers.

    The Cards have been signing CFs (Rasmus, Jay, Robinson, Chambers, Pham, Taveras, Russell, and others). So we could trade another, including Jay. An opposing team could hope Jay can get an off-season operation, if he needs one, and bounce back better than ever during 2013.

    We have a lot of trade possibilities. Its strange that the Tigers traded Turner for a short rental of Sanchez. Shades of trading young John Smoltz for end of the line Doyle Alexander?

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Jay had already shown ML ability during 1.5 seasons in the majors, when the Cards unloaded Rasmus. Rasmus too was introduced into the majors in a reserve role during 2009. Neither Chambers nor Oscar have as much ML experience as Rasmus and Jay had obtained, before being entrusted with a fulltime role in CF in the majors.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Interesting all the furious flip flops by the Marlins. They used to be a notoriously low spending team, but exploded this past offseason, bidding on Pujols and other free agents like Bell, Reyes, Buehrle.
    A few weeks ago, they were so desperate, they even traded for Carlos Lee. Jeff Luhnow grabbed that action while it was there.
    Now Lee has predictably not saved the day, the Marlins have flipped and given up and are trading for prospects. Another team that splurged last off season, the Tigers, have caved and surrendered some.

    Its not easy being a GM. Mo has his work cut out for him.

  4. kray66 says:

    If I remember correctly, the Phillies had an eye on Jay a couple seasons ago. I haven’t heard anything since then specifically, but it does sound like they aren’t happy with their CF situation now.

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    If the Cards traded Jay, they might recall Robinson and go with the platoon of Skip and Shane, with Chambers a phonecall away, in case Skip pulls another muscle.
    Oscar is plenty focused, as a hitter. He will get to the majors in future. Its not clear his future has to be accelerated. Spring training seems a better situation than a pennant race for him to be introduced to MLB.
    I would trade Jay toward a starting pitcher, but am comfortable with not trading him at all. But we had to trade Ludwick to land Westbrook. Sometimes good guys are liked by other teams too.

  6. crdswmn says:

    I don’t want Jay traded if that means we have to play the rest of the year with Skip, Shane, or Adron in CF. Skip, because it would be a huge downgrade defensively (sorry bling, but Skip’s defense in CF is no better than 2B). And Shane and Adron would be huge downgrades offensively. I would much prefer we keep Jay and mollify the Jay haters by getting a RH CF option. I saw a tweet that the Angels have interest in Rzepczynski and might be willing to trade Bourjos for him. My only problem with that is that it would almost insure we would be stuck with Brian Fuentes in the bullpen for the foreseeable future and he is a big Yuck, imo.

    There is no easy solution being put forward as of yet. I’m afraid Mo is inclined to just stand pat for this trading season which is a big mistake considering our shaky bullpen.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Mo is likely to make at least one deal, because its risky to do nothing. Who wants to read Bernie complaining? Not Mo.
      If the Angels give up Bourjos for Rzepcynski, this l might be a little hard to turn down and enable us to include Jay for a starting pitcher. Then Kelly could replace Salas or Marte in the pen. Motte, Boggs, Kelly, and Rosenthal could be nice quartet.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        The rumor of Rzepcynski might come from the Angels camp. Mo does generate rumors. Adding Fuentes might give us flexibility.
        Trade partners could include Padres (since Mo has done deals with them); Rays; Mariners; while the Astros should not be forgotten.
        With the Rangers, Braves, and Dodgers looking hard for a starting pitcher, and with Dempster rocking the boat, the Cards may need to look at a lot of possibilities.

    • blingboy says:

      The Brewers are shopping Francisco Rodriguez. kkkkkk.

    • blingboy says:

      I’m not that hot on the Bourjos idea. Given the Cards’ underperformance issues, I’d like to see a veteran character guy like Furcal. A pure rental would be fine. Some reps in the middle of the lineup.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    Luhnow has been making deals since he got to Houston, looking to get multiple players in return for one Astro. Luhnow moved Happ, Myers, and David Carpenter to the Jays for 7 players, Carlos Lee for two, Mark Melancon for two.
    How about Tyler Greene, Brandon Dickson, and Cleto for Wandy Rodriguez and cash?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Mo would do that in a heartbeat, I imagine. On the other hand, Luhnow should do a lot better than three players that have had multiple MLB trials but haven’t impressed.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Luhnow knows the talent here. Luhnow may like Greene, much as he gave a chance to SS Jed Lowrie.
        Wandy has thrown a lot of innings and is pulling down $13MM for 2013. The Cards could use him this year and next, and give some salary relief to Houston. Luhnow might like adding three low salary players for one highly paid one. RHP Bud Norris is another possibility. Our system has a lot of players, so we can give Luhnow more of what he wants, system depth.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Dickson could provide Houston with a starting pitcher to backfill Wandy. Greene was kept behind Izturis, Ryan, Theriot, and now the pricey Furcal. The Astros could give more playing opportunity. SSes have value, as known to Luhnow, who just took Correa number 1 in the June draft.
          Cleto has 15 Ks in 9 innings. He needs more opportunity. Arm strength has value.
          Luhnow can propose three different players. The important thing is there could be may be an affinity between the Astros (willing to trade vets for multiple inexperienced players) and the Cards.
          Luhnow claims he spoke to the Blue Jays GM 20 times in one evening to do the 10 player deal. Luhnow and Mo also know how to chat via phone.

  8. blingboy says:

    Beltran in CF, Lance 7th
    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Allen Craig (R) RF
    3. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    4. Carlos Beltran (S) CF
    5. David Freese (R) 3B
    6. Yadier Molina (R) C
    7. Lance Berkman (S) 1B
    8. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B
    9. Adam Wainwright (R) P

  9. WesPowell says:

    Regardless of what happens trade wise, or the results of the trading, I’m a happy camper. I stick to the big picture at all times. And the big picture is that last year and this year, 258 games to this point, Pujols, Holliday, Freese, Berkman, Schumaker, Jay, and Craig have not played in 481 games due mostly to injury. That’s about an average of 2 of those guys per game. In addition Wainwright, Carpenter, and Garcia will have missed about 90 starts over 2 years, by the end of this season..

    We have a world title and whatever happens this year.

    Well done.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Not trying to start another fight. I am just honestly curious because our viewpoints are so different. How many years does one championship hold your happiness before you hold the team accountable for its results?

  10. WesPowell says:

    The results this year are satisfactory considering. This could have happened last year, or both years.

  11. WesPowell says:

    In fact this DID happen last year until about the last month or so.

  12. WesPowell says:

    As far as just looking at an individual season I like to see the games in September mean something. If that does not happen it’s disappointing but again, that’s life. but a case can be made that last year it looked like the September games would not mean anything and it turned out they did. So it’s kind of like a Rubiks cube.

    I have been a fan a long time and I know what it means to have it really not mean anything in September. Way below .500 and way, way out of it. Anything but that.

    There have been years and years in a row where we did not seriously compete. Hopefully that will never happen again, but individual very bad years will happen again. Regardless of anything else. This does not look like one of those.

  13. WesPowell says:

    It’s nice to dream that we will hammer teams like the Pirates or Reds for all eternity just like we did for an amazingly long stretch , but it ain’t gonna happen.

  14. WesPowell says:

    And let me be clear. I am not holier than thou. Anyone can approach the ups and downs however they want. Particularly when younger the more emotional is understandable. I used to be different than I am now. You should have seen me during that series loss to the Royals.

    Now looking back I can see it more clearly. The 1985-1987 period was spectacular and no world championships. With a 3-1 lead in one world series and a 3-2 in another.

    Yet possibly the most impressive thing the Cardinals have ever done is beating those damn Mets teams 2 out of 3 162 game grueling regular seasons for the division title.

  15. blingboy says:

    maybe Skip was held out. 🙂

  16. blingboy says:

    The Orioles are 19-6 in one run games. What’s their secret.

  17. blingboy says:

    DD looking good sliding in sporting the stirrups.

  18. blingboy says:

    I think I saw Big Mac wearing his #25 game jersey instead of the red pullover.

  19. blingboy says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, but I was looking at UZR/150 for this year. Guess who our best defensive middle infielder is? Too hard, ok guess who our best offensive middle infielder is?

    Wow, Lance just pulled up his pants leg and it looks like he’s got two kneecaps. Nasty. Sounds like he’s ok though.

    • crdswmn says:

      Don’t tell me. You are going to bastardize defensive metrics with that small sample size stuff again. You REALLY think there is some significance to a better UZR/150 in a half a season for someone who has played 175 innings in the MI? When Furcal has played 600 MORE INNINGS? When both Descalso and Greene have played 150 MORE INNINGS REALLY?

      I give up. Skip Schumaker is the second coming of Rogers Hornsby. Happy now?

  20. Bw52 says:

    Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to Dodgers for Nate Evovaildi RHP.Ryan Roberts to Rays for AA inf
    Wandy Rodriquez to Pirates,Hamels re-ups with Philly.Interesting morning so far.Marlins giving up ?

    • kray66 says:

      Yeah, I think it’s safe to say the Miami experiment is being retooled to say the least. Part of me is kind of happy since I hate to see teams throw money around like they were to try to buy success, but another part of me is sad that what we all think is a great sport doesn’t seem to be appreciated down there.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Odd the Marlins recently added Carlos Lee, only to start dumping guys a few weeks later. Seems like they could have gotten more for Hanley.

      I recall some were vehement in their belief that the new ballpark would change everything.

      • blingboy says:

        Mlb is a tough sell in Miami. Even when they won it ultimatly didn’t matter.

        The Angels are having similar problems. Local TV ratings somethng like 28th. To whatever extent LA is a baseball town, its a Dodgers town. They are talking about dropping the ‘Anaheim’ and moving downtown. Good luck to them.

        • Nutlaw says:

          In regards to the Marlins, selling off all of their important players immediately after winning the World Series both times probably had something to do with it. After essentially stealing their stadium, lack of success couldn’t have happened to a more deserving team.

  21. carlosbeltran5 says:

    I think that the Cards might trade him, but I don’t think that it would be Angkor idea because he is a great fielder and usaully has an great average and the cards don’t have another leadoff bitter.

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