Wong Entrenched At Second?

Glove may save him.
Glove may save him.

While it seems the braintrust of the Cardinals is hellbent on getting a center fielder to beef up left field (some twisted math there), not everyone is buying the company line.

It seems Jenifer Langosch of Cardinals.com is of the mind the team is going to target another area as a primary focus this offseason. That would be infield defense, as she answered a mailbag question on the team’s website.

In my opinion, the Cardinals’ biggest deficiency this season was related to run prevention. And, of course, that includes two components — pitching and defense. Now, I don’t foresee a seismic shakeup with the pitching staff, so what you saw in 2016 will largely be what you get in ’17 (plus the notable addition of Lance Lynn). The offseason focus, then, should shift to the defensive side, where the Cardinals need to improve at several positions. Most importantly, they need to address this year’s deficiencies up the middle.

How big a difference can the defense make with a mostly static pitching staff? Quite a significant one, actually. Consider that while the Cardinals ranked 19th in the Majors with a 4.08 ERA in 2016, they jumped up to seventh with a FIP of 3.88. The Fielding Independent Pitching statistic estimates a pitcher’s run prevention independent of the performance of the defense. It’s evidence of how much this year’s staff was hurt by the defense behind it.

This telegraphs to Joe that joltin’ Kolton Wong will be locked in at second base.

Look, Joe is not a fan of Wong. He has a terribly weak bat and is so streaky he made Matt Holliday look like a consistent hitter. The thing about Wong is, to his credit, he does have a good glove.

It is clear that Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny has soured some on Wong. His boss, general manager John Mozeliak, is a big fan of Wong’s, partially because he signed Wong to an obscene and unwarranted contract roughly a year ago.

Well, if the Cardinals are going to beef up the defense in the infield, they sure as hell can’t move Al Diaz at short (he did improve with his glove until he was injured). So that tells Joe that this team better go out and get a friggin’ stick at either first base or third base to cover for Wong’s deficient bat. Whichever corner position doesn’t get upgraded, that’s where Matt Carpenter plays.

If defense is a priority, then obtaining a legitimate stick at first makes all the sense in the world.

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