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Cardinals promote Tommy Pham, option Randal Grichuk to Memphis

Coupled with yesterday's promotions and demotions, the Cardinals now have radically different center field options.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

One day after the Cardinals sent Jeremy Hazelbaker to Memphis while recalling second baseman-turned-center field option Kolten Wong, the Cardinals have sent center fielder Randal Grichuk to Memphis while promoting Tommy Pham.

Grichuk was a major contributor to the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals, compiling a .276/.329/.548 triple-slash line in 350 plate appearances and proving above-average defense in center field, compiling 3.2 Baseball Reference WAR and 3.1 Fangraphs WAR. But Grichuk has struggled in 2016: his batting average stands at just .206, his defense has been below average, and has struggled mightily in June: triple-slashing .114/.205/.257.

The 28 year-old Tommy Pham has played well in his fairly limited experiences with the St. Louis Cardinals, demonstrating an above average bat and glove but failing to demonstrate an ability to stay healthy on a consistent basis. Pham started on Opening Day of 2016 against the Pittsburgh Pirates but was removed from the game due to injury, and after a stint on the Disabled List, found himself in Memphis. Pham's AAA numbers have been relatively disappointing: his 99 wRC+ suggests that he has been roughly average for the level, although he did hit a home run last night and there has been some optimism recently that he is once again finding his offensive prowess.

Recent moves have suggested that the Cardinals were unhappy with Grichuk's performance: Stephen Piscotty, previously considered to definitively be a corner outfielder, has recently started games in center field, and Kolten Wong, demoted from St. Louis as a second baseman, has started minor league games in center field and is slotted to start in center field today against the Texas Rangers.

That the club was willing to demote Wong, with whom the team had agreed to an extension during the off-season, suggests that the Cardinals were willing to send seemingly core players to the minors if their production was not there, and the club's willingness to recall Wong suggests that if he is able to perform for the Memphis Redbirds, Randal Grichuk may be back with the big-league club fairly soon.