Mark Ellis to begin season on DL. Kozma (sorry for the earlier autocorrect) makes opening day roster. #stlcards
— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) March 30, 2014
While Kozma is the beneficiary of the Ellis injury in being able to stick with the Cardinals big-league team for now, the injury to Ellis gives the Cardinals another opportunity to showcase another mediocre asset that is a glaring weakness on the roster.
The Cardinals should use the absence of Ellis to showcase Daniel Descalso and hope to move the putrid and overrated utility infielder.
If you follow me on Twitter (@CoreyRudd) you are likely quite aware that I am not a fan of Descalso. In fact, I do not understand why guys like Kozma and Jon Jay catch so much flack from the faithful while Descalso gets off scott free despite being inferior to both.
Descalso had a great spring, I will give him that. But he did not have a great 2012 (.227/.303/.324) and 2013 was not much better (.238/.290/.366).
General manager John Mozeliak should capitalize on Descalso's hot spring and sudden opportunity to get some at bats and try to land a home for him as far away from St. Louis as possible.
My reasoning: having Descalso on this roster over Kozma does not make this team better in the long run.
BFIB's greatest will say that Descalso is better at the plate then the dreaded Kozma, and they are right, he is better.
But not by much.
Descalso is not a good pinch hitter either. In over 70 career plate apperances as a pinch hitter, Descalso has posted a miniscule .432 OPS.
Sorry folks, but that simply is not cutting it.
In fact, the gap between Kozma's defense at shortstop over Descalso's is much wider then the advantage Descalso has over Kozma at the plate.
And do not give me that Descalso can play third base or was a gold glove caliber third baseman in 2011. The Cardinals have three other options, Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta and Ellis, who all can play third base. I bet Kozma could even hold his own there if he has to.
The point is, Kozma is actually a better fit for this club. This team needs a backup shortstop that is strong with the glove (Kozma was arguably the second best defensive shortstop in baseball last season by many metrics). This team needs somebody that can provide some speed off the bench (yes, Kozma is faster than Dirty Dan).
This team does not need a utility infielder that is below average in every facet of the game (hitting, fielding, and running).
Is Descalso a slightly better overall player than Kozma?
Yes, I think he is.
But that does not mean he is a better fit for this team at this very moment.
Kozma has been given a break thanks to the injury(ies) to Ellis for now. But it is Mozeliak that has been given an opportunity to find a sucker to take Descalso's $1.29 million below average utility infielder bat and glove while capitalizing on his hot spring.