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20 April 2011

Cardinals Showcase Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton
With the poorly timed Designated Listings of valuable contributors Skip Schumaker and Allen Craig, the St. Louis Cardinals made a surprising call-up from Triple-A Memphis, first baseman Mark Hamilton.  Additionally, the forgotten Nick Punto was actived from the DL.

Hamilton's recall was surprising.  He is a power bat who plays a position that he will not be filling - first base.  He is most likely to be used as a pinch hitter and a couple of on-the-job training starts in the outfield.

We expected Adron Chambers to get his cup of coffee for the next fortnight, but the organization is suddenly short on available outfielders after a frightful collision that robs us of reading Shane Robinson's last name arching over his smallish shoulders.  It's also in the best interest of team and player for the still developing Chambers to get regular playing time in the minors than rot away on big league pine.  Hamilton, on the other hand, really doesn't have much left to prove in the minors.

What Mark Hamilton needs to prove is value to another team as a Major League player.  It is unlikely that if Albert Pujols finds a different franchise to pony up the paychecks for his demands in free agency, a career minor league player will replace the future Hall of Famer on a perennial contender.  Hamilton's true worth to the Cardinals organization is as a trade chip.  Without playing time with the parent club, he isn't much of one.

This is what I believe the reasoning was behind his being the butt in the seat on the plane to St. Louis.  Hamilton needs to show that his long, looping swing can fulfill his minor league home run totals against top calibre pitching.  A couple of dingers in a couple of weeks would make a non-contending team take some notice of him - especially in the DH League.  It's a little something something St. Louis GM John Mozeliak could find handy to have in his back pocket around the end of July.

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