After the Cardinals beat the Marlins 6-3 today in their final Grapefruit League game of the spring, the club optioned outfielder Joe Mather to Triple-A Memphis. The remaining twenty-five players will be your 2009 Cardinals on Opening Day.
Surviving the cut, and making the big league roster are top prospect Colby Rasmus, third base stand-in David Freese, and utility infielders Brendan Ryan, Joe Thurston, and Brian Barden.
I can’t remember a Cardinal team filled with so many versatile players. Of the five outfielders (counting Skip Schumaker), four are capable of playing all three outfield positions, and of course Skip is the starting second baseman. The three utility infielders should see time all over the diamond, as well as a few innings in the outfield. With the way Tony La Russa likes to shuffle players around on his way to breaking his own record for different lineups in a season, we’ll need some much bigger scorecards if we’re going to try to keep up. I think the only question remaining is which non-pitcher is going to see an inning or two on the mound this season.
Although I think it’s possible to have too many soft hitting middle infielders on a ball club, I can’t disagree with the Mather cut. He’s had a poor spring, and could use some more regular at-bats to get his swing right. Just like the last previously cut Chris Perez, we’re sure to see this one in St. Louis fairly soon.
For more on the Mather story, check out the latest from Rick Hummel.
Up next for the Cards is a two game exhibition stop in Memphis, followed by an off day before the games officially count.
[Photo credit: Doug Benc]