The transition to the St. Louis Cardinals was supposed to work wonders for Khalil Greene. And why wouldn't it? He was being traded from the miserable San Diego Padres to a franchise that has a penchant for converting struggling players and milking the most out of talent.
And talent is what Khalil demonstrated in 2007. Just two seasons ago as a 26-year-old shortstop, Greene put up monster numbers for his position, with 27 HR and 97 RBI without a whole lot of lineup protection. He was also making a constant appearance on ESPN's "Web Gems", showing off his cannon arm and impresssive range.
But that talent has gotten Khalil and the Cardinals nowhere in 2009. Greene struggled almost immediately out of the gate, not only at the dish but also in the field, leading the Cardinals in errors despite playing in only 38 of 49 games.
Actually, Khalil HAS gotten somewhere in 2009: the disabled list. The Redbirds put Greene on the disabled list this past week with an anxiety related disorder, and are unsure of when he will return. A combination of Brendan Ryan, Joe Thuston, Brian Barden and possibly even Tyler Greene will play shortstop in his absence, but Ryan should get the majority of the time.
Anxiety and social disorders are no laughing matter, especially in the world of professional sports, where athletes are watched 24 hours a day. But at some point, a team needs to start looking out for it's own best interests. That is what I am proposing for the St. Louis Cardinals.
If Josh Hamilton and Rick Ankiel can come back from their own demons, I have no doubt that Greene's career has plenty of potential to return to form. But he is doing the 'Birds no good. Cutting Khalil, giving him the rest of the season to figure out his problems, and moving on would be the best solution for all involved.
Brendan Ryan and Tyler Greene are younger than Khalil, and also have the potential to keep growing since they have had a relative lack of exposure to the big leagues. Maybe one of them can even develop into a big league starter.
For the sake of both the present AND the future, the Cardinals need to let the Khalil Greene project go.