WASHINGTON — Former All-Star Paul DeJong is back with the Cardinals, but not to the full extent.
The veteran shortstop rejoined the team on its taxi squad Friday in the nation’s capital, following a 2 1/2-month demotion to Triple-A Memphis. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said the team plans to activate DeJong soon, possibly as early as this upcoming weekend.
DeJong moving back up coincides with the Aug. 2nd trade deadline, in which he could be a piece in a potential deal with many others around baseball.
“The way we thought about Pauly, early on, when we had the initial conversations, was, we wanted him to go down there and earn his way back up here,” Marmol said. “Our hope was that he wouldn’t come back simply because there was a need or because there was an injury, but that he earned it. He’s done that.”
Whatever happens, the Cardinals and DeJong are both hopeful his this recent reset helps out himself and the team in the long-run: whether he’s on the team or not.
“I’m excited,” DeJong said. “I feel like I’m in a good place. My body feels good. I just want to help this team win. We’re right there on the cusp, and I know I can help them. I’m just here to sort of start from scratch and do what I can do today.”
Know for his power at the plate, something rare among shortstops, DeJong was the runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year and he set the Cardinals’ single-season record for home runs by a shortstop in 2017. He re-set the record in his All-Star season in ‘19. But since 2020, his production has dipped, which led to him losing his starting job. DeJong hit .130 with one homer in 24 games this season before the demotion to AAA Memphis.
In his career, 28-year-old is a .237/.308/.434 hitter with 97 homers over parts of six seasons with St. Louis. He is under contract through 2023 at a $9 million salary, with a combined $27.5 million in club options for 2024 and ’25.