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Cardinals Playoff Roster?

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 HollidayJon Jay and Carlos Beltran in the outfield.  Then David FreeseDaniel DescalsoMatt CarpenterMatt Adams and Yadier Molina.  All five starters will make the post season roster, Adam WainwrightLance LynnShelby MillerMichael 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 RosenthalKevin SiegristCarlos 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.

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  • SocraticGadfly

    Pete Kozma is their shortstop. Descalso is their utility infielder. Sorry, but D’s glove is why he’s not the SS. Hey, I don’t like Kozma at SS either, but, until something changes, he’s the SS and Descalso is the utility guy. I’ve even blogged about this.

    • Mike King

      Thank you for reading the article. I think it is splitting hairs as both are making the team, but just so you know I made the statement based off the fact that 4 out of the last 5 games DD was the starting SS and Kozma was on the bench.

      • SocraticGadfly

        Oh, understand, and figure that was part of it. That said, Descalso’s glove is worst at SS of the three infield positions he plays. Assuming Wong can make the cut up top for next year, Freese for a SS is the trade that’s needed.

        • Mike King

          I totally agree with your feelings on both DD and PK. I really hope neither is on the team next year and only one is a utility if that is what we have to put up with. If either one is starting SS next year it will be a complete failure this off season.

          Given Wong’s inability to hit at this level this year, i don’t think there is any chance he starts with the big club next year. I just think he needs another couple of months at AAA to get his confidence back and grow some more to see if he will be able to produce at this level. I think the SS is going to come via free agency as we have so much money coming off the books.

          • SocraticGadfly

            You are probably right on Wong. I wish it weren’t so, so that trading Freese would be a no-brainer. That said, if they get Wong to do winter ball in the Caribbean or something, they might have more seasoning for him, and more of a handle on him, and could still pull the trigger on Freese.

            Agreed on the FA money. I expect them not to resign Beltran, but I would, myself, make the 1-year tender offer, because somebody will pay that much for him. It’s a slim free agent market. Chris Carpenter’s money off the books will be a biggie.

          • Mike King

            We are on the same page on a lot of things. I would also offer Beltran the one year deal as well. That way if someone does pay him for 2-3 years we get another supplemental first round pick. If Carlos takes the one year deal, we are very strong next year. I think Carlos might actually work with us as his numbers here in St. Louis and he seems happy. I don’t think he has to take another huge contract so he might agree for one more year at 10 million.

            Not only do we have Carps money, but we also have Furcals money and Westbrooke we owe a $1 million buyout but the rest is savings. So between the 3 of them it is around 20 million.

            I am with you that I hope Wong plays Winter Ball some where well enough that we can trade Freese. I am not high on him at all and we can pair him with one of our MANY young pitchers to go get us something special at SS. I personally would go for Peralta at SS via free agent and keep Freese. Just put him in a rotation and a good bat off the bench on days he is not starting.

          • SocraticGadfly

            You know, speaking of Furcal, I’ve thought that, if he comes back from the surgery OK, he was, in 2012, the starter. He’s getting older, yes. But, unless either Kozma or Descalso gets better, IF Furcal will take a reasonable deal to stay in St. Louis (I’d give him 2 years guaranteed if the price is right) that’s another option. (I’ve had one or two baseball friends laugh, but I stand by the idea, with the caveats.) Hadn’t thought about Peralta, as Tigers aren’t likely to sign him, tho I read somewhere they ‘re making him try an OF glove right now.

          • Mike King

            I am in agreement with you on Furcal. I would want it to be a 1 year deal and incentive driven deal since he will be 36 coming off major elbow surgery. Again only if we cannot come up with a better alternative in FA or in a deal. If he is only interested in the most money then he is gone.

            I think Peralta will get more as a SS in free agency than as a LF for the Tigers. So if we want him, we could give him a deal that would lock down SS for the next 3 years. FYI he will turn 32 next May. He made 6 million this year. I am thinking if the Cardinals offer him 3 years 30 million he could be had. Keep in mind Melky coming off his roid suspension got 2 years 16 million. So I am upping it based upon SS being more valued position than OF.

            Obviously one thing we all have to be concerned about is if any of his numbers are roid aided. Without the suspension this year he hits 300 and 15 hr. Even if we get 280 and 10 hr what a dramatic improvement that would be for us. It also gives us a couple years to develop a SS in the minors which obviously we struggle with. FYI I just went and did some research of the minors you have to go all the way to State College Spikes in our system to find a good SS prospect in Kenneth Peoples Walls. He hit 300 this year and he was 4th round pick in the 2011 draft class out of HS. So maybe he could be the future?

            Again really enjoying the chat and exchange of ideas. Thanks!

          • SocraticGadfly

            Yes, we are pretty sympatico. I could give Furcal 1 plus an option, and be OK with that, if trade or free agency doesn’t scare something better up. We are kind of thin in the minors at SS. And, I’d prefer to trade NONE of Wacha/Miller/Martinez. Kelly, possibly. Lynn definitely.