It is a fine art, trying to glean meaningful clues from baseball officials. The St. Louis Cardinals are no exception.
Very recently, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak stated that it was “unlikely” that his organization would be adding a player to the 40-man roster for purposes of a September call up.
We were reminded of the GM’s remark by MLB.com as recently as two days ago.
Its context was most relevant in the case of the Cardinals’ top prospect coming into 2012, right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller, though some hoped Double-A outfielder Oscar Taveras might be included as well.
On Sunday, the Post-Dispatch reported that Miller will indeed be added to the 40-man roster and will join St. Louis on Tuesday. Triple-A Memphis’ season ends on Monday, but Miller is not scheduled to pitch for them again.
Miller’s very strong August has been recognized by many. That included me when I named him The Cardinal Nation Pitcher of the Month and the Pacific Coast League, which anointed the Texan as their Pitcher of the Week twice last month.
The 21-year-old has apparently been repairing damaged organizational confidence in him regarding matters such as maturity and pitch selection, but recovery isn’t an overnight thing. Earlier, the concerns were great enough that Miller was reportedly made available at the trade deadline.
In terms of results, Miller pitches just once every five days, so he has had at most one or two outings since Mozeliak seemed to close the door on the likelihood of his MLB debut in 2012.
So what changed?
Apparently, a little bit here and there added up to enough to tip the scale in the other direction. There were some in the organization who wanted to see Miller in St. Louis in September and those supportive voices must have drowned out those who were against it.
The Cardinals are almost surely going to use Miller sparingly in September. After all, they are in a pennant chase and that isn’t the time to experiment. Yet Miller will get to be around the major league club and perhaps throw a few innings in a blowout or two. The real benefits may occur in 2013 and beyond.
The bottom line is that the organization has seen enough of a change in Miller to change their own minds and take the big step with their 2009 first-round draft pick now rather than later.
That is good enough for me, but Miller is the one who has to make his first impression as an official major leaguer.
All eyes will be on him.
(Note: The Cardinal Nation blog readers had this move pegged back in February. Provided with 11 different scenarios for Miller’s MLB introduction, the one that received the most votes is the one that will apparently come to pass this week.)