By COREY NOLES
It's time for Oscar Taveras.
I've stayed on the fence about this issue for as long as I can, but now the St. Louis Cardinals need Oscar Taveras. It's that simple.
What happened this past weekend at Wrigley Field in Chicago was a microcosm of the issues the Cardinals have seen since Opening Day. From struggling at bats to baserunning snafus, this team has seen it all.--and they're better than that.
Yes, April is early. So is May.
But the games still count.
Regardless of the time of year or the reason behind it, a five game deficit is still no easy hill to climb to get back to where I genuinely believe the Cardinals belong in the NL Central standings.
I still believe this team is good and stand behind my pre-season predictions that the Cardinals are capable of playing deep into October.
To make that happen though, it's time for an adjustment. That adjustment is Oscar Taveras. This team needs the shot in the arm that a young, hot bat could provide--and right now that bat is hot.
Taveras is literally destroying the ball in Memphis.
Through 27 games, the 21-year-old left-hander from the Dominican Republic is batting .301/.357/.485 with five home runs and 19 RBI.
Sure, those are Triple-A numbers. But by the time one factors in even a 20-percent drop, he's still outhitting the Cardinals current options at center field.
Cardinals center fielders rank 22 in all of MLB in batting average, coming in at a dismal .229/.305/.356. They're not hitting or getting on base consistently.
Plenty of that has to do with the fact that there has been no consistency at the position.
Jon Jay has had several good days at the position, but isn't the shot the Cardinals are looking for in their offense.
Randal Grichuk has been impressive in spurts, but he's still a raw talent and could benefit from a little more time at Memphis to work on his patience at the plate.
Peter Bourjos is missing--like milk carton missing.
Bourjos is the only one who should be blocking Taveras from the position at this point, so if they're not going to play him, then it's time to give Taveras his shot.
As we move into May, the real question is whether the Cardinals can afford not to call him up.
He'll have his hiccups, but there is a reason he is seen as one of the top talents in all of baseball. That's something people need to keep in perspective.
While the Cardinals have plenty of prospects that rank high in their system, Taveras is seen as top end talent across baseball. That's very different.
I'm not saying that he's wasting away in Memphis, but it's starting to look like the Cardinals may be wasting away without him in St. Louis.
If the plan is not to use Bourjos and give him a chance to prove himself, then move him out of the way. It will be better for him and Taveras.
I still believe Bourjos has talent, but without regular playing time he's not going to reach that potential. A trip to Memphis for him to get some regular swings would only promote Taveras, virtually ensuring that Bourjos doesn't have a job to return to in St. Louis.
I'm just suggesting that it's time to either use Bourjos, or scoot him over and make room for Taveras.
At this point, what isn't worth a try?
Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. He is also a regular contributor to Bleacher Report and KSDK.com. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @coreynoles.