The Peralta injury opened up a possible leak on the St. Louis Cardinals infield defense. What if another starter goes down?
St. Louis Cardinals didn’t even break into week two of games before a starter went down in Jhonny Peralta. As everyone scrambles to look for a replacement for him, I start wondering about another spot with little backup or MLB ready depth. Third base. What if Carpenter gets hurt?
How about it? If Carpenter hits the dust, third base gets weak. Jedd Gyorko would have been my answer a week ago, but now he will slot in at shortstop for a bulk of the playing time. Matt Carpenter is arguable the most valuable player to this team right now. He hits leadoff and steers the Cards offense and he plays a position where they have few answers. A 100% Yadier Molina is vital but Carp may be more important these days. The Cards can’t afford to lose Carpenter, but if it happened?
What if exhaustion gets the best of him again or he suffers a major injury? Mark Reynolds is gone. Stephen Piscotty hasn’t played third base since his Stanford days. Matt Holliday played there briefly over 10 years ago(I’m not joking). Patrick Wisdom may make an appearance at Memphis but he isn’t ready. The team doesn’t seem confident to slot Greg Garcia in at shortstop, so I don’t think they will push him to third.
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The Cardinals have no true third baseman to back up Carpenter right now and that is a warning sign. The Peralta injury basically kicked that beehive a few times and made a few people think about Freese. The former Cardinal and all time nostalgia holder(who still keeps a home here) is a free agent and spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.
Should the Cards bring in Freese to back up Carpenter and potentially give first base a righthanded element behind Matt Adams and Brandon Moss? It’s not a bad idea, albeit not a likely one the team will pursue.
Why bring in Freese? Does he still have something left? Sure he does. He was worth 1.4 and 2.3 wins to the Angels the past two years. That’s 3.7 WAR for a guy who doesn’t have a home. His OPS+ of 109 and slugging mark of .420 last season shows he has pop left.
Here’s the real treat with Freese. He shreds lefties. His .297 batting average, .368 on base percentage and .460 SLUG over 694 plate appearances in his career show a guy who can handle LHP. What has been the Cards Achilles heel lately? Guys who hit lefties. Freese changes that.
There’s also minor league options like Aledmys Diaz(if he loses out on SS battle, which is likely) or Jacob Wilson(25 years old and going from second to third base lately). The team doesn’t seem ready to move with Wilson or Wisdom, so who covers third if Carp falls? Interesting question.
Spring training is where you enter the Twilight Zone and see the what if and could be scenarios about to play out. Third base depth is a good place to poke around.
While it remains unlikely, bringing in Freese isn’t a crazy idea. The team wasted 2.5 million on Ty Wiggington once upon a time.
The main idea is this. The St. Louis Cardinals immediate third base depth is lacking.