May 30, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) hits a single in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals are expecting to get infielder Jhonny Peralta back from the disabled list by their next game. To make room for him, they’ve optioned Kolten Wong down to the minors.

From one perspective, this is not surprising. Wong has a .222 batting average, .306 OBP, and an anemic .286 slugging percentage.

St. Louis also has a deep group of middle infielders which includes Aledmys Diaz, Greg Garcia, Jedd Gyorko, and now Peralta. That’s a strong group of players competing for two spots in the lineup. Given that the Cardinals are a contending team, it makes sense that they don’t want a struggling Wong getting at-bats over guys who could be more productive. 

On the other hand, it’s a rather stunning drop for Wong, who’d been a productive player for St. Louis in each of his first two seasons with the team. The second basemen finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2014.

He was so productive in 2014 and 2015 that in March, the club and Wong agreed to a contract extension through 2020 with a club option for 2021.

It’s natural to wonder if this current demotion is just an attempt to get a struggling young player some at-bats, or a sign that Wong may no longer be in the Cardinals’ long term plans. Wong is only 25, but Garcia and Diaz are only 26 and 25, respectively. It’s certainly possible that St. Louis just views them as better options not only now, but also long term.

Logically, this could be permanent or it may be temporary. It’s also possible that at this point, the Cardinals themselves don’t even know.