St. Louis Cardinals: What’s the best outfield arrangement now?

ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 24: Lane Thomas #35 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a single during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on April 24, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 24: Lane Thomas #35 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a single during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on April 24, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals seem to finally be playing with the best possible outfielders in the Majors. What should the arrangement be?

The St. Louis Cardinals have finally made one of the most sensible roster moves of the last few years, even if they waited about three months too long to do it. The end result remains, Randy Arozarena is now on the Major League roster.

The 24-year-old outfielder plays with his heart on his sleeve and I believe will quickly become a fan favorite. The other reason he should be a fan favorite is that he should be a shot of adrenaline for the Cardinals’ sluggish offense.

Between AAA and AA this year, Arozarena has a combined .349 average and .982 OPS with ten homers, 23 doubles, and 16 stolen bases. Capable of playing any outfield position, he presents an easy upgrade over the defense of Jose Martinez and maybe even Dexter Fowler.

The injury Martinez suffered on Sunday is unfortunate, but the love affair with Martinez has clouded the fact that he is a -10 drs in right field and has been a slightly below-average hitter the majority of the year. He holds a lot of the heart and soul of the team, but there were better options to play in right field.

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While Martinez is on the IL, the current outfielders on the MLB roster are Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler, Lane Thomas, and now Arozarena. Notice that I DID NOT list Tommy Edman or Yairo Munoz in that list. From this day forward, they should not see a start in the outfield. There is no point to put those two so far out of positions they can succeed in when there are four viable options on the roster.

I am not saying that Thomas or Arozarena are superstars that are going to take hold and carry this team to the World Series for the next five years, but as of right now, those two offer a more complete package over either Edman or Munoz in the outfield.

The curious case of why Lane Thomas has been glued to the bench may never be answered, but with Arozarena up now, either Thomas or Arozarena has to be in the lineup every day. Arozarena especially, until he proves he is overmatched by MLB pitching, should be in the lineup and at the top of the order because he has a .435 OBP in the Minors this year. It shouldn’t be that hard of a choice.

The front office tried to say that the reason they didn’t call up Arozarena was because of playing time, but that’s what they have for him now. He is the hottest bat in the entire organization and has been for months. If he doesn’t start five games a week at first, there should rightly be a lot of fan frustration.

The question now is what should the regular lineup look like now that Arozarena is up?

Marcell Ozuna clearly has his hold on left field, Fowler has been about average in center field, so now with right field open, I would say the daily lineup until Jose Martinez returns (and maybe longer) needs to be 95/5 Ozuna in left, 75/25 with Fowler/Thomas in center, then 70/30 with Arozarena in right.

Arozarena is not as good as Thomas in center, and with the hole in right field now, there’s no reason why Arozarena can’t take that spot. Play him until he proves he is overmatched, then adjust.

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The proof will come tonight when the Cardinals take on the Royals in Kansas City. If Arozarena or Thomas isn’t in the lineup, it is going to be a fun night to be on Twitter. This is the time of year to be bold and play the best lineup possible and there is no way to argue that a lineup without Thomas or Arozarena is best.

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