Party Hardy

I haven't been as prevalent in the comments as I'd like recently so it's entirely possible that I missed the excoriation but Dan Uggla for Omar Infante? Really?  I mean, Infante is a nice utility player with an average bat that plays at multiple positions but Dan Uggla is, historically, a dramatically better bat and player.

If I recall correctly, the salary of Dan Uggla wasn't the issue as John Mozeliak noted but they weren't sure they matched up on players. John Mozeliak wasn't willing to beat Mike Dunn and Omar Infante? Really? I'm extremely disappointed in what seems like a huge miss for the Cardinals and, perhaps, further underscores the misguided commitment to Skip Schumaker, regardless of how attractive he may or may not be.  Where was the outrage? Where was the scathing takedown?

I will again apply myself to some humble begging. If Dan Uggla is off the market, I'll set my sights a little lower and look to the Twins and J.J. Hardy. I'm a strong proponent of the club retaining Brendan Ryan for several reasons: 1) He's an elite defender and that seemingly remains an undervalued asset in this instance and 2) there is no viable shortstop in the Cardinals system in the near term.  

So the Cardinals need to retain Brendan Ryan but that's not really an advocacy against acquiring J. J. Hardy. For me, Hardy is that utility guy that the Cardinals have lacked for a couple of years. Trying to fill that role with the likes of Aaron Miles and Joe Thurston -- 307 PAs in 2009 -- has been woefully unsuccessful. Hardy is probably never going to return to the 4 WAR heyday of 2007 & 2008 but he's been worth between 1-2 wins over the last two years.  He's still got the glovework to play shortstop and he nicely compliments Schumaker as a platoon. As reasonable insurance against Freese looking more like this in 2011, JJ Hardy seems like an ideal fit for the Cardinals. At the least, the Twins are listening and I'd certainly prefer Hardy to a Miguel Tejada alternative.

If JJ Hardy gets traded for Willie Bloomquist later this week and the Cardinals don't even sniff at him, I'm going to write angry comments on a fan blog that may or may not be read by the front office.

The Cardinals made some prospect cuts to the 40-man roster yesterday. None of them were particularly surprising.  It's been difficult to reach this point with DJ Tools aka Daryl Jones though. Jones was drafted in 2005 with real hype around the multi-sport athlete. Speed was always his primary asset but Jones was projected to develop above average power. Regardless of how he's viewed now, at the time he was considered a potential impact player at the draft.

Ranked the #11 Cardinal prospect by Baseball America in 2006, he drew comparisons to Kenny Lofton. He was lauded for his defense projecting to be a potential center fielder. One of the narratives that would develop later in his career was a week arm but at draft time he had enough arm to play right field.

There's no doubt that Jones has floundered since the draft. That's the primary reason he's be dropped from the Cardinals' 40 man roster. He was and remains a talented player. There are pervasive rumors and questions -- from people in a position to know -- about his work ethic and attitude. With the emergence of Adron Chambers and the continued lack of production from Jones, he's seen as less of a necessary prospect and more of a high upside project with decreasing chances of reaching that ultimate projection.

It's very difficult to know what the real story is here. I'm crafting a narrative based on what I know from the outside and from people close to the situation. The point is that it's foolish to blame anyone in the Cardinals system every time a prospect doesn't develop. Sometimes it's the prospect's fault. Sometimes, it's no one's fault. Sometimes, the player development system has failed and others the prospect was just never that good in the first place.  If you're going to write a forlorn tale of the lost prospect, DJ Tools seems like an worthy script protagonist.

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