If getting a player back from the disabled list is just like making a trade for a player to help the team down the stretch, then losing a player to the disabled list for the stretch run must be just like trading a good player away. While the Cardinals hope to see Jhonny Peralta, Matt Carpenter, and Brandon Moss all return from the disabled list shortly, the Cardinals got a bit of bad news today as Aledmys Diaz will hit the disabled list with a hairline fracture in his thumb.
Diaz was hit in the hand by a pitch high and inside from Andrew Cashner in the game yesterday, the second such pitch from Cashner in a manner of weeks to hit a Cardinals player high and inside as Holliday was hit in the nose while Cashner was still a member of the San Diego Padres. In the linked piece above, John Mozeliak indicated that Diaz would miss likely miss more than the minimum 15 days for a trip to the disabled list.
That’s the bad news. On the bright side, Jhonny Peralta is set to return from the disabled list Tuesday and he was expected to be the starting shortstop for the Cardinals entering the season. There is no reason to expect that Peralta cannot fill that role capably. The Cardinals are not a team of stars, limiting the impact of the loss of any one player and mitigated by having roughly average players available to fill in.
When Carpenter returns, the team will still have Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Jedd Gyorko, Jhonny Peralta and Greg Garcia for essentially three spots on the field. Garcia has done a solid job this season, Gyorko has been fantastic of late, and Wong is showing some signs of coming around. Those players should be able to minimize the loss of Diaz, although him being out also limits the Cardinals ceiling given how well he was playing.
The Diaz injury is unfortunate, but doesn’t change the overall picture for the Cardinals going forward. They have winnable series upcoming against the Reds and the Braves. They will need to take care of business and hope that the returning injured players are healthy and stay healthy so they can produce at typical levels. The Cardinals depth is being tested and on the position player side, the team has done an admirable job picking up the slack. They will have to continue to do so without Diaz, one of the better stories in baseball this season.