St. Louis Cardinals could benefit from Holliday playing first

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Mar 14, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Holliday (7) makes a play against the Minnesota Twins during the game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Twins defeated the Cardinals 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Holliday (7) makes a play against the Minnesota Twins during the game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Twins defeated the Cardinals 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports /
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Spring training is just about three weeks old, and first base is a topic of hyper discussion. Will a St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason rumor/fantasy come true?

St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Matt Holliday at first base next month? Can you see it? Every time Holliday touches first base this spring, the idea of him at first base in a regular-season game moves closer to reality than simply a mere possibility.

No one is calling Holliday an everyday player at the corner position but it’s happening enough to where it’s time to discuss what good can come out of this and who can benefit? Mike Matheny and his coaches aren’t playing 12 Angry Men this spring for a reason. They are searching for ways to plug this lineup with more weapons and ability.

If Matt Holliday moves to first against left-handed pitching, it opens up an opportunity for Tommy Pham to slide into the outfield. More importantly, it improves the outfield defense. Pham is a better outfielder than Randal Grichuk so he can take over center field with the Greek God moving to left field with Stephen Piscotty in right field. Suddenly, the Cards have a decent and defensively formidable outfield with three good arms and players perfectly suited for their positions.

After all, Pham is a talented fella who spends too much time in the trainers room. At 28 years old, the time is now for Pham. He showed towards the end of 2015 that he can hit for power and stay on the field. With better contacts and diet, Pham is a year wiser and has a chance. Pham shifting to centerfield and Holliday to first helps this team. Pham’s speed also helps the lineup.

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Jeremy Hazelbaker was signed last year and enjoyed an extended power streak with Memphis. He could be one of those sneaky talents that takes the big leagues by storm. He could benefit from Holliday seeing more time at first base.

Charlie Tilson is another player to think about. If he shows that his bat can handle Memphis opposition, his speed and ability to hit at the top of the lineup could be a useful trait for this team to take on soon. He will be waiting down in I-55.

It’s yet to be seen if Holliday will even see time, if much at all, over at first. Matt Adams and Brandon Moss need to play and Adams can’t play anywhere else. Holliday, Moss, and Adams are all working on one-year deals. Holliday has an option for 2017 that will probably be picked up but there are no guarantees. His move to first base is a direct action to lengthen his career as he tips past 35 years of age. Adams is arbitration eligible again next season and Moss is on a one-year/8 million dollar deal. Who plays first base in 2017? Bet on that.

Next: Rotation Issues?

The Holliday at first base theory was pure fan lore last season as everybody from Derrick Goold and your neighbor denied it would happen. Then, during the offseason, Holliday (who is the first one down to Jupiter because he has a home there) practiced at first. Spring training started and Holliday was there frequently. Spring is a time to try out ideas and see what fits. Holliday hasn’t looked bad at first, so slowly yet surely I am buying into this reality.

Before we go all “Kolten Wong to Shortstop” crazy, measure your excitement. When April 4th rolls around and a lefty climbs the hill during that first week, it will be interesting to see if Matheny places Holliday at first. Is it an illusion or real life? The team’s infield defense may take the occasional hit but the ability to create a younger outfield could be enticing.

What do you say, Cardinal Nation? Yay, nay, or no way on Matt Holliday playing first base?

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