Posted on January 30, 2008 at 7:00 AM
Filed Under: Baseball
| St. Louis Cardinals
With Todd Wellemeyer coming to terms on a new contract, GM
John Mozeliak stated that he probably wasn’t going to bring in any more
pitchers. If that’s the case, I think
pretty much all the candidates for the 25 man roster are available. So, who does it look like has a chance to
comprise the 2008 squad?
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The catching situation is pretty set. There’s no one in the organization to really
challenge the off-season signing of LaRue for Molina’s backup. Anderson
still needs some time down on the farm.
The infield is a little more unsettled. The corners are locked down, as Pujols and
Glaus will be the Opening Day starters there.
Their backups aren’t quite as certain.
Phelps may get a bench job or he may start out in Memphis, waiting to see the condition of
Pujols’s elbow. Speizio probably gets
the third base backup slot, though Ryan now has the flexibility to take that as
Second base should nominally be Adam Kennedy’s. He’s on the long-term contract, at
least. However, his disappointing play last
season coupled with his recent promotion to head LaRussa whipping boy causes
some doubt about whether he’ll take the field to start the ’08 season. It’s possible Ryan could scoot over there or
perhaps Jimenez will play well enough in spring training to earn a trip north.
Shortstop is another position with question marks. Izturis was signed in the offseason, but his
lack of a bat and the play of Ryan in 2007 may make for an open competition
when it comes to camp. The fairly
inexplicable signing of Miles may send Ryan to Memphis to start the season.
The outfield has another crowd. Ankiel and Duncan are guaranteed to get
plenty of at-bats, even if Duncan
especially doesn’t start against the left handers. Rasmus will get a long look in spring training,
but my guess is that he’ll be sent down to begin the year with a call up
sometime in late June. Barton has to
stay on the roster or be offered back to Cleveland
and there is enough potential in him, plus the fact that he’s right-handed,
that he should stick.
The pitching situation is pretty lined out, though the
returns of Mark Mulder (supposedly in May) and Chris Carpenter (August or so)
might make for some interesting mid-season rearranging. Adam Wainwright will be the number one,
followed by some mix of Clement, Pineiro and Looper. Where that leaves Reyes is anyone’s
guess. He may work out of the bullpen,
it’s possible he could head back to Memphis,
he could even be traded. I’d lean toward
the latter, especially if Mulder makes a strong comeback and none of the other
pitchers show signs of injury.
The bullpen is pretty stable, all things considered. Izzy will be back to close, Franklin will be likely the 8th-inning
man. My hunch is that Perez makes the
team out of Florida
and works the 7th for a while.
Kinney will probably start out on the DL or in AAA to work up some arm
strength before he makes it back to the bigs.
So, a little over two weeks out, this is my first guess at
the Opening Day roster:
C (2): Molina,
IF (6): Pujols,
Glaus, Kennedy, Izturis, Speizio, Miles
OF (5): Ankiel,
Duncan, Schumaker, Barton, Ludwick
Wainwright, Pinerio, Clement, Looper, Perez, Springer, Percival, Isringhausen,
Wellemeyer, Johnson, Ra. Flores, Reyes
I wanted to put Ryan on there instead of Reyes, but knowing
LaRussa’s preference for a 13/12 hitter/pitcher split, especially early in the
season, I settled on this configuration.
We’ll see how close it is come March 31!