The St. Louis Cardinals would be wise to avoid the 6-man rotation.
The St. Louis Cardinals might be considering a 6-man rotation but this would not be wise. There are so many reasons arguing against a six-man rotation that may prove to be too great of obstacles to this route of gamesmanship.
Should the St. Louis Cardinals utilize the 6-man rotation, whoever sits in the number-six spot will be taking a roster spot from a backup hitter/infielder/outfielder/speed man. With runs being a thing of importance, a lost bench spot could spell disaster for the Cardinals.
To this point, already in Spring Training, the St. Louis Cardinals have taken extended (three games counting Sunday’s contest) looks at the likes of Luke Voit, Tyler O’Neill, and Greg Garcia. A 6-man rotation would likely steal an available spot for one of these backups.
Adding to the cons, a sixth man in the rotation would likely remove a pen arm as well. If we keep with the thinking illustrated in the first three games of Spring Training, the St. Louis Cardinals are considering the pen arms of Jack Flaherty (possible 6th man), Jordan Hicks, and others. The team must consider which value they are interested in adding.
To recap the negatives, the St. Louis Cardinals will need to consider if whether it is wiser to protect the position players and/or add or protect the bullpen. Should the organization add a batter to combat against the rising difficulties of the NL-Central or should the organization reserve the spot for a strengthened bullpen to better the numbers witnessed in 2017?
Here’s the skinny of both: if abandoning the 6-man rotation idea, the Cardinals could add Voit’s projected eight home runs and projected slash of .254/.322/.436 to the bench, or O’Neill’s 31 home runs and 95 RBIs (from 2017) to the bench. OR, the St. Louis Cardinals could decide to keep Greg Garcia on the squad to backup the infield and bring his projected OPS of .736.
Garcia is out of options, by the way, which means he has to break camp with the big league club or go to other pastures.
To the pitching side, Flaherty looks to be a future starter and- I predict- if he isn’t this season’s sixth man, then he will likely find himself in Memphis. This leaves the Cardinals needing to decide if Jordan Hicks or Sam Tuivailala or Dominic Leone are better fits for the Cards’ pen to hold and save games.
The pen was an issue in 2017 and cost many starters precious victories so this might play deeply into the St. Louis Cardinals’ plans for 2018.