On Saturday, hours before the Cardinals' 9-4 victory over the Washington Nationals, the Cardinals designated shortstop Ruben Tejada for assignment, opting instead to retain Greg Garcia on the Major League club.
Tejada was signed by the Cardinals on March 19 in light of Jhonny Peralta's thumb injury and questions about the team's depth at the shortstop position. Unlike the team's internal candidates for the position, Tejada had a 431 game track record at shortstop in the big leagues and was considered a relatively safe, if not spectacular, bet.
However, things never really worked out for Tejada in St. Louis. He himself began the season on the Disabled List, which opened the door for Jedd Gyorko and later, and much more notably, Aledmys Diaz, to take over the shortstop position in Peralta's absence.
In 179 plate appearances in 2016, Diaz has triple-slashed .319/.352/.548 and has displayed surprising power at the big-league level, belting seven home runs. Tejada, never expected to provide overwhelming production at the plate in the first place, triple-slashed .176/.225/.235. It wasn't in a lot of playing time, but it was enough it seems to have altered the club's perception of the two.
During Matt Carpenter's time on paternity leave, the Cardinals promoted Greg Garcia, who in two games triple-slashed .667/.833/1.667, and while this is obviously not a production level the Cardinals are expecting Garcia to maintain, it seems their perceived gap between Tejada and Garcia was narrow enough that Garcia's Thursday and Friday nights closed it.
The Cardinals are attempting to retain Tejada by demoting him to AAA Memphis. The Cardinals will still owe him his $1.5 million salary. Tejada is allowed to decline the assignment if he so chooses, though given how long he remained unsigned this offseason and his poor production to start 2016, it is unknown if another MLB club would be willing to offer Ruben Tejada a big-league contract.