The St. Louis Cardinals have many important players on the team. And though Cardinal fans would hate to lose any player to injury for any length of time, here are three players who would be the hardest to replace. In my opinion, because of the player’s ability or lack of depth at a given position, I wouldn’t any of these guys to lose any significant playing time.
Yadier Molina – Besides being the key player in the clubhouse and on the field, we would also lose significant offense if Molina was out for an extended period. Never mind the fact that his defense can change a game; now his offense and clutch hitting is one reason why the Cardinals reached the post season last year. The backup catchers won’t come close to filling in for Molina for an extended period. Sure, they can fulfill the basic job of catching but, other than that; the Redbirds would be in serious trouble if they lost Molina. Because of Molina’s durability, it seems unthinkable but, the Cards would do well to start cultivating a reliable backup catcher to fill in for Molina if he has to miss for an extended period of time. Let’s hope he stays healthy for the rest of his career but, better to plan, just in case.
Jon Jay – The Cardinals’ center fielder seemed to come from nowhere. And now that he’s here, he has proven to be one of the better center fielders in the National League. Once Jay became the everyday center fielder, he played in 117 games. Prior to that, he split time with Skip Schumaker and was also injured and missed several games last year. Now that Schumaker has been traded, the only “center fielders” are Shane Robinson and Adron Chambers. If Jay were to miss significant time, the Cards would certainly miss his bat in the lineup. And he’s also progressed as a defensive outfielder. So, while his extended absence wouldn’t be as catastrophic as losing Molina, the Cards would miss his presence in the long term.
David Freese – Showing how the Cardinals as a team would fare without Freese in the lineup is easy. The last two years that the Cardinals have had a healthy Freese, they’ve had continued success. There is no shortage of backups in Daniel Descalso, Matt Carpenter and now Ty Wiggington, but, none of them have the combined defense and offensive prowess that Freese displays. As a fan favorite, he’s probably the most popular Cardinal along with Molina, now that Albert Pujols is gone. In the past, his ankles have been the “weak link” for Freese. But now that they are surgically repaired, he seems to be past those problems. The only time he missed last season was the result of being hit by a pitch. There may be some other potential prospects in the farm system but, let’s hope Freese stays healthy in the long term.
So, feel free to comment and let me know what you think. You may have a different opinion but, these are the players I think the Cardinals would have the hardest time replacing if they were to miss any significant playing time.
Thanks for reading.