St. Louis Cardinals: Lots of roster questions, few answers

May 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Randal Grichuk (15) runs after he hits a single in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Randal Grichuk (15) runs after he hits a single in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

John Mozeliak made a flurry of roster moves that may have led to more questions going forward about the St. Louis Cardinals roster.

On Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals promoted Randal Grichuk back to the Major League roster after a stint in the minors to retool his swing. Dexter Fowler hitting the DL made this an easy move, and allowed Grichuk to potentially audition for his future with the team.

The next move was sending down journeyman Chad Huffman and calling up the local kid, Luke Voit. In an attempt to find some extra power on the bench, and allow for Matt Carpenter to have a few extra days off, Voit finally got the call to his hometown team. The Cardinals hope Voit can fill the hole that Matt Adams was not able to fill in his time in St. Louis.

The final move made by the organization was calling up Mike Mayers in place of the injured Kevin Siegrist. Siegrist, who is dealing with a sprain of his cervical spine,  is sidelined for an unknown amount of time.

This move gives Mayers his long-awaited return to the big leagues after a disastrous début in 2016. Mayers was a surprising move to the revolving door that is the Cardinals’ bullpen.

After the flurry of moves made by Mozeliak and the Cardinals on Sunday, fans may have been left with more questions than answers about this roster and its construction. What happens when Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong return from the DL? Who goes down when they return and who loses playing time? These are the questions that will keep Mozeliak and Mike Matheny thinking for the foreseeable future.

Greg Garcia and Paul Dejong

Greg Garcia, the St. Louis Cardinals’ utility man and emergency catcher, is on the chopping block when Kolten Wong makes his return to the majors. With Paul Dejong making his début this season, the future may be here to stay. Dejong could signal a beginning of a move from the old guard of Cardinal players, and Garcia would fit the bill for who could be on their way out.

If the Cardinals decide to commit to Dejong as their utility man going forward, Garcia will be on his way out. When Wong returns, that would leave the St. Louis Cardinals with a plethora of infield options. It is more likely that the Cardinals start the young guy going forward instead of the career utility player in Garcia.

Another option, mentioned by our very own Dr. Miles in a previous post, is that Paul Dejong may be a trade candidate around the deadline.

This would mean that his time in the majors has been an audition and they have no intentions of Dejong being part of this team’s future. Dejong could also see himself heading back to Memphis and continuing his career in AAA until he returns to the Major League club.

The only thing we know is Kolten Wong will be at second base when he returns from injury. Unfortunately, for Garcia and Dejong, one of them will have to go. There isn’t a place on this team for that many middle infielders and Mozeliak will have a hard decision facing him.

The Outfield Conundrum

To the delight of some, and the despise of others, Randal Grichuk made his return to the Majors. This comes after a stint in high-A to retool his swing and a stop in Memphis to put that new swing to the test.  Grichuk has wasted no time in leaving an impression. In his two games since returning, Grichuk has gone deep twice, one being the longest home run for a Cardinal at Busch Stadium III.

Grichuk’s return to St. Louis and return to the starting lineup may have fans worried about the future of recent fan favorite, Tommy Pham. Pham has been a spark plug for this team. You might have heard of his recent two home run, two outfield assist game against the Phillies last week. Pham has done more than enough to earn his place on this team. However, history shows Matheny will lean Grichuk when push comes to shove.

The seemingly forgotten part of the outfield is Jose Martinez. Martinez, who beat out Pham in the spring, has seen his playing time diminish. Another issue for Martinez is Luke Voit’s promotion. Voit eliminates the idea of Martinez  playing first base when Matt Carpenter would need rest.

The problem becomes, when Fowler returns, what are the St. Louis Cardinals going to do? Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty are everyday starters. That leaves one position available for three players. The likely move is for Jose Martinez to return to Memphis and Grichuk and Pham to battle it out for playing time in left field.

Unless the team is willing to send Luke Voit back down after starting his clock, then Jose Martinez is seemingly the only option. Grichuk and Pham both provide more upside than Martinez. Grichuk is younger and still has a chance to be the starting left fielder for the team going forward. Pham has shown more upside at the plate and is light years ahead of Martinez defensively.

Next: Diamondbacks series' preview

John Mozeliak has his work cut out for him. Not only does he have the issues previously mentioned, but also with this team’s lack of success. If the Cardinals do become sellers, these roster moves will more than likely work themselves out. Regardless, if this team buys or sells, Cardinal fans may need to prepare themselves to see friendly faces on their way out of St. Louis.