Kolten Wong said he would rather play for another team than share starting duties at second base.
Second baseman Kolten Wong expressed confusion and frustration Sunday about the news that the Cardinals are considering a platoon approach at Wong’s position to start the regular season.
“You know what, that’s out of my control,” Wong said before the Cardinals played the Marlins in a Grapefruit League game at Roger Dean Stadium. “I was told that I was going to be the starting second baseman. If that’s what they want to do, then that’s their decision. The thing with me, and my frustrations is that, I think when you give someone a contract and you expect him to be the guy, you should have belief in that guy. It’s hard when you don’t feel that belief. But it is what it is. If that’s the case, then I’ll be ready to do what I gotta do to help the team win.”
Wong later clarified:
“My whole thing was, I just got mad at the fact, thinking, I’m over here trying to work on things, trying to get myself better. Not trying to go out here and have an amazing spring training. I’m trying to go out there and have an amazing season. To hear that (he might be platooned) was something that hit me out of left field. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I didn’t mean it for me to come off seeming like I wanted to be traded or wanted to get out of this organization. I love playing for the Cardinals. If that wasn’t the reason, then I never would have signed that extension. I wanted to be here for the long term. I still want to.”
Kolten Wong on his value to the Cardinals: “On defense, I’m one of the best second basemen in the league,” "I believe that and I know that.” pic.twitter.com/9fCu4UZAWJ
— We The North Side (@NorthSideBlog) March 26, 2017
— John Rabe (@johnrabe) March 26, 2017
It's hilarious to me that Kolten Wong is smart enough to know spring training stats don't matter but Mike Matheny isn't. pic.twitter.com/TXLFCOvJFy
— Paul Swydan (@Swydan) March 26, 2017
Poll Question of the Day: Will Kolten Wong be on the #STLCards roster at the start of the 2018 season?
— Kevin Wheeler Show (@WheelerShow101) March 27, 2017
Kolten Wong is a competitive, emotional guy. Always has been. He just needs to get his swing going. Glove looks great. He'll play. #stlcards
— Tom Ackerman (@Ackerman1120) March 27, 2017
Alex Crisafulli from SB Nation:
First, these comments were pretty over the top. But second, Wong is upset because he should be. The “return to fundamentals” offseason sound bytes focused largely on defense. Wong is the best defensive second baseman on the roster and if he was listening to the narrative the last couple of months from the higher-ups then I don’t blame him for expecting 550 to 600 plate appearances in 2017. If, as indicated, that was jeopardized by a poor spring at the plate then that is wrongheaded on the team’s part. Wong has been dreadful at the plate this spring but if we’re being honest with ourselves no one knows exactly what that means. Spring is when players hone their swings and work on other parts of their game, and any stats derived from which are from small samples anyway.
Jonathan Berndhardt from Fanrag:
In fairness to Wong, it would not be right to describe him as a platoon player last season — there was little difference in his batting line between facing right-handed pitchers and facing lefties, and what little there was can be found in his slugging percentage. No, what Wong was last year was a part-time player: He contributed 121 games of .682-OPS hitting and unremarkable defense, making him a 1.5-win player or so by WAR — not a useless player, not a guy without value, but certainly someone that just about every major league team either has or can find kicking around the league for at or below what Wong’s making right now, with the added benefit of not having to be on the hook for the next few years if it doesn’t work out.
Not everyone agrees with Wong:
@KoltenWong a true Cardinal lays it out on the field and not running their mouth. Don't let the door hit you if you don't want to here!
— Kerry Fifer (@Kfifer72) March 27, 2017
@KoltenWong Shame on you Kolten. Be grateful. Really bad statements.
— Beckie Price (@beckieprice) March 26, 2017
@KoltenWong bro, you're not even going to be drafted in our 27 round fantasy league draft tonight. Worry about making that before u start.
— White Collar Gangsta (@DougVaughnfan) March 26, 2017
Kolten Wong is talented, young, cost controlled and can pout on the bench until he's a suitable piece for a trade deadline deal.
— 3-27-88 Savage (@washmothirteen) March 26, 2017
What do you think? Should the Cardinals trade Wong?