Paul DeJong’s time in St. Louis has been filled with highs and lows with now being one of his lowest lows. Many people think the Cardinals should move on from the 28-year-old shortstop, but I do not think the organization should give up on him quite yet.
I am not just saying this because I have a DeJong jersey, I truly believe the Illinois State alum can bounce back. Last year was when the DeJong struggles began to be noticed by the majority of Cardinal Nation. As a fan who went to a game on saw on the scoreboard, he was batting under .200, I was alarmed myself.
After finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 to Cody Bellinger, hopes were high for DeJong. Ever since then, things began to go downhill. His 2021 season consisted of a .197 BA and a 1.6 WAR. With the fanbase growing impatient with DeJong, it seemed like this might be his last season playing in Busch Stadium.
In just 24 games and 84 plate appearances this year, DeJong put up a .130 BA with only 10 hits. Earlier this month he was optioned to Triple-A Memphis while Nolan Gorman was called up. This could be the end of DeJong in St. Louis, but I don’t think it should be.
DeJong’s Value is At an All-Time Low
There was a time where Cardinals fans wanted to package DeJong as part of a big deal for a star like Trevor Story, but that ship sailed. Simply put, DeJong has little value, but that can help his chances of staying in the organization.
DeJong is doing better in Memphis, but still struggling to put up impressive offensive numbers. He is hitting .189/.244/.243 with a .487 OPS. He has struck out in over 25% of his plate appearances.
These numbers are alarming and the demotion to Triple-A was definitely warranted. I think the change of scenario will do wonders for DeJong. It seemed his future was secure in St. Louis as our everyday shortstop, but his offensive struggles were hard to ignore, even if his defense was stellar.
A trade with DeJong could happen, but few teams would want to take his contract. If a trade did happen, it would be for a low-end prospect or somebody who would likely not be an everyday guy.
With that being said, I am willing to take on the burden of his last 1.5 years in the organization and hope he plays like the DeJong of the past.
What a Future Without DeJong Looks Like
It seems the most likely option for both parties is for DeJong to be designated for assignment. If he continues to bat under .200 in the minors, his time could wearing the red may be over sooner than later.
So, what does the future look like without DeJong. Well, it looks like what it does now.
Gorman gets his long-awaited opportunity in the majors, but it will likely be a committee this season. Expect to see many different lineups with many different names. The most likely lineup is a middle infield of Tommy Edman at short and Gorman at second, but this team has depth.
Edmundo Sosa is not going to give up his spot to Gorman without a fight. Sosa and Gorman will likely split time this year.
All signs point to this being the end of DeJong’s run in St. Louis as a Cardinal, but I think we should continue being patient with him. I am not ready to give my DeJong jersey to Goodwill.