Feb. 28: Q of the Day
What is the likelihood of Peter Kozma seeing extended time in the Majors this season?
— Richard C., Gibraltar, Mo.
What the Cardinals do with Kozma will be one of the more interesting decisions to watch this spring. When the team signed Ronny Cedeno (one year, $1.15 million) in late January, Kozma moved further back on the shortstop depth chart. That does not mean, though, that he can’t climb back to No. 2 at the position this spring.
The Cardinals have indicated that Cedeno does not have a certain roster spot just because he signed a guaranteed contract. While the Cardinals would prefer not to eat that money, there is precedent that they would if Kozma is deemed a better option than Cedeno. That’s one way Kozma could push his way into the Majors.
The other, of course, would be if Rafael Furcal is unable to play. If Furcal goes on the DL, it’s assumed that the Cardinals would carry both Kozma and Cedeno. Given what Kozma was able to contribute when playing regularly last September/October, I’d expect that he would get a chance to prove that the spark can be sustained.
What is working against Kozma is the fact that he has one option year remaining. That means the Cardinals can send him to the Minors without the risk of losing him. The Cardinals don’t have that luxury with Cedeno, who would have to be released (and still paid in full) if the Cardinals opt to keep Kozma as the backup behind Furcal. If all is seemingly equal in the competition, this could tip the favor in Cedeno’s favor.
Remember, though, that Furcal’s status is likely to be tenuous all year. So even if Kozma doesn’t land on the Opening Day roster, there may be an opportunity for him midseason.
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