Now that the St. Louis Cardinals have all but locked up the NL Central we can start to look forward to the playoffs and discuss what the 25 man playoff roster is going to look like. The starting lineup is pretty much set with Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran in the outfield. Then David Freese, Daniel Descalso, Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams and Yadier Molina. All five starters will make the post season roster, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly. So that is 13 of the 25. We know they will carry Pete Kozma as utility infielder, Shane Robinson as backup outfielder and Tony Cruz as the backup catcher. So we are up to 16. Now let’s talk about the guys out of the pen that are locks. Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez, Seth Manness, Randy Choate and John Axford. So that is 22 locks out of the 25 we are allowed to carry.
The very first and biggest question, is Allen Craig going to be healthy enough to pinch hit? If yes, obviously he will make the roster. We will find out Friday how his x-rays turn out on his ankle tomorrow. If he is not, who do the Cardinals take as a person off the bench? Adron Chambers? Brock Peterson? Kolten Wong? None of the 3 can hit a lick, so do you go with speed from Wong and Chambers or at least a threat of hitting a long ball from Peterson? As you can see the Allen Craig situation makes a huge difference in quality pinch hitter coming off the bench.
So far we are at 12 position players, 4 starters (one will be in the bullpen) and 7 pitchers out of the pen. That leaves two more spots available and let’s talk about who is potential. If you had not noticed half of the pitchers are rookies. Pitchers who will be in that conversation is Edward Mujica, Tyler Lyons, Fernando Salas and Jake Westbrook. Two weeks ago not only was Mujica a lock for the playoff roster, but was the closer. Now he is question mark if he is going to be the last pitcher taken. He offers experience and a hope of 10 days rest he would get his stuff back. Lyons would add a third left hander but another rookie. Westbrook I guess would offer experience, but I just don’t see any way he makes it. Salas would be the dark horse with another power right arm.
My guess is the Cardinals say Craig is healthy enough to pinch hit and is on the roster. I then think they take Mujica and Kolten Wong to fill out the roster. The only difference I would do is take Lyons instead of Mujica as I would prefer the third lefty out of the pen.
There is either two or three slots available and curious to hear who you think the Cardinals will take and if you were the GM who would you take.