What makes a player just up and leave. Reflection on Cardinals Yairo Munoz


St. Louis Cardinals Utility Yairo Munoz 'bolts' from Spring Camp without a word

As reported in the past couple of days, St. Louis Cardinals Yairo Munoz, utility player, was to have a MRI last Thursday due to a hamstring injury sustained Saturday, Feb. 29. He came into the game in the seventh inning against the Nationals. His first at-bat in the 8th, running out a grounder, he limped off the field.


Come Thursday morning, Munoz was a no-show for the scheduled MRI. The Cardinals organization was later notified by a teammate (name not disclosed) had received a message that Munoz hopped a flight to home. Back to the Dominican Republic. No direct contact with either Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak or manager Mike Shildt, whom Munoz did have a close relationship with. At least Shildt viewed it as such and totally baffled by the situation. And the Cardinals looked to rely upon his ability as "one' of their utility players in 2020.


Still no direct communication with the Cardinals organization by Munoz. Only via his agent.


Cardinals felt, justifiably so in my opinion, they had no recourse but to release the young 25 year old. Saturday the announcement came, an unconditional release. Yairo Munoz would now be a free agent upon his return. Yairo Munoz had given them two seasons of very solid play and held a .273 BA. This spring, in six games played, 16 at bats, he held a .375 BA/.625 SLG/1 HR/4 RBI with 10 total bases. Gave the team some pop, and solid in the field.


WHY WOULD A YOUNG PLAYER GIVE UP HIS FUTURE


Probably not as much as the Cardinals organization, but I have given thought as to 'why' a promising young player would bolt.


In my opinion, supposedly as reported from the Cardinals camp, he was 'unhappy', didn't feel he got the playing time he deserved last season (only 88 games vs 108 in 2018), and could see the writing on the wall for 2020. With Utility Tommy Edman in the wings as top choice off the bench. Especially in lieu of his hamstring injury. Reports he wouldn't make the Opening Day roster being on the IL. To be shipped to Memphis-Triple A to get everyday reps - to rehab.


With his ill-view of his 2019 season, did former Cardinals Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna keep him focused? To continue to work hard, go the distance keeping faith in his ability. Maybe. Seemingly as I watched the games, Munoz and J Martinez, specifically, were close teammates. Jose Martinez spending twelve seasons in the minors before making his way to the majors. Munoz was by far more fortunate as his career progressed.


And if he was so unhappy, why exit the country? Why would a player just throw away a bright future? Immaturity? At least speak with your manager, with communications previously being so open, for advice. For reassurance. And, not having the MRI performed, no diagnosis as to the degree of the injury. So a return timetable could not be determined in stone.


And now, re-entry into our country which may be in question. Or, do baseball players have a free pass to do so. That I do not know. But, we throw in the threat of the COVID-19 (Corona Virus) in the mix, will he be cleared for return?