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The End of a Non-Era: Cardinals Trade Tyler Greene to Houston


The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have traded infielder Tyler Greene to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later. The trade ends a frustrating tenure with the Cardinals organization for Greene and sends him to the organization now run by the man who drafted him. During his time with St. Louis, the shortstop-turned-utilityman showed flashes of power, a strong arm, and plus speed along with a propensity to commit errors in the field and strikeout-heavy performance at the plate. Greene was all tools and no production.

BJ Rains of Fox Sports Midwest has tweeted quotes from Greene and Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. For his part, Greene is gracious to the Cardinals organization as he exits. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't mention the fans he criticized last night after the boo birds came out.

Mozeliak's opinion of Greene as a big-league player seems to be reflected in his comments about the trade.

A shortstop out of Georgia Tech, Greene was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2005 draft. He was a player with enticing physical skills--power, speed, a strong arm--who also struck out a lot, even in college. Greene had an excellent start to his second year as a pro, posting a .927 OPS over the span of 256 plate appearances in the Quad Cities. That hot start earned him a promotion to Palm Beach, where he struggled to a .633 OPS, the product of a fair walk rate offset by a .224 average. In Double-A, Greene didn't walk much (5.8%), struck out a lot (24.5%), and posted a .756 OPS in the hitter-friendly Texas League. Greene was promoted to Memphis for the end of the 2008 season and struggled through the end of the year.

In 2009, at the age of 25, Greene seemed to put it together. The strikeouts were still there (23.1%) but he walked 9.8% of the time en route to a .291/.369/.482 line. The Cards rewarded him with some time in the big leagues, where Greene flashed his electric skill set at times as well as the holes in his game that would plague him throughout his time in St. Louis. In 2010 and 2011, Greene rode the Memphis shuttle, posting good numbers for the Redbirds and bad numbers for the Cardinals.

Out of options entering the 2012 season, Greene was given an opportunity to win the starting second base job. After Greene was unable to set himself apart during the spring, manager Mike Matheny employed a time share at the keystone with Daniel Descalso taking the majority of the innings and plate appearances as Greene's errors and poor hitting pushed him to the margins. The former Yellow Jacket took just 33 plate appearances for the Cardinals between July 1 and August 8. The manager's reluctance to use Greene was an indicator of what was to come.

Greene finishes his Cardinals career with a career line of .218/.295/.329 over 556 PAs (76 wRC+) and 25 stolen bases in 27 attempts. As of this writing, the Cardinals have not announced a corresponding 25-man roster move. The path of least resistance would be to promote Memphis utilityman Pete Kozma, who is already on the 40-man roster. Kozma is hitting .233/.292/.361 (62 wRC+) with Triple-A Memphis and would be a perfect successor to the Disappointing First Round Shortstop throne Greene has abandoned. The better baseball move would be to promote slick-fielding shortstop Ryan Jackson, who is hitting .269/.331/.398 (88 wRC+) in Memphis.