I’ve had the question posed to me previously and Derrick Goold had a well written piece (does he have any that aren’t?) about Kozma in the Arizona Fall League. Quoting:
Some of the others, like Blake King and Pete Kozma, are out playing in Arizona to win a spot on the 40-man roster or impress another team enough to take them in the Rule 5 draft.
As I’ve said previously when asked about the situation, it just doesn’t make sense to me that Pete Kozma is being auditioned for anything.
The question that immediately comes to mind is what are the other options at SS in the upper levels of the minors. The club has Tyler Greene under control; Donovan Solano can play there in a pinch and Kozma got most of the time at that position in AA. In Palm Beach, Ryan Jackson received the share of PB laying time after an in season promotion.
My read on the organization is that there isn’t a player behind Kozma who is clamoring for a promotion. Tyler Greene would seem to slot in nicely on the big league club (at least hypothetically) leaving a lack of competent fielding shortstops between AA and AAA.
I’m not part of the Pete Kozma fan club by any means but it seems obvious to me that there’s a positional need at SS within the farm system. Even if you think Kozma never amounts to a major leauge player, in 2011, he’s vital to fielding teams in the minors. So it’s unclear to me why he’s perceived as being on the 40-man roster bubble.
If there’s any wild card here, it’s whether some other club will try to snag him as a backup. Potentially, the Cardinals could be trying to “sneak” him through the process without adding him to the 40-man roster. I find it difficult to believe that an opposing club is going to 1) Rule V draft him after an anemic 2010 performance or 2) be able to stash him on a major league roster for a full season. This isn’t a reliever you can toss into low leverage situations. This is a shortstop position player who, unless you want to play with a 24-man active roster, needs to be capable at the major league level.
Pete Kozma is in the AFL to work on something. Maybe it’s his swing, maybe it’s his throwing motion or maybe it’s something else. I don’t see a scenario where this is an audition, of any kind, for Kozma for big league clubs. The Cardinals need him in the organization for 2011. Whether he’s in their plans long term is another question entirely.