St. Louis Cardinals: Four position battles to watch this spring
By Matt Graves
For each winner of these positional battles, there has to be a loser. When it comes to the bench, the best collection of the losers will stick with the team. Assuming a five-man bench, the best guess for the bench right now would consist of Matt Carpenter, Lane Thomas, Justin Williams, Edmundo Sosa, and Andrew Knziner.
This is the guess at the start of spring. At the end of spring training, things could be very different. For one, the Cardinals haven’t talked specifics about their plans for Andrew Knizner. Having brought in Ali Sanchez and Tyler Heineman, either one of them could serve as backups to Yadier Molina if the Cards want Knizner to play regularly at AAA.
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Edmundo Sosa is the first in line for the utility infielder role because he’s on the 40-man already, but Max Moroff, Jose Rondon, and maybe even Kramer Robertson could play their way onto the team.
While Carpenter (if on the bench) is a good fill-in at first base and for the top pinch hitter, the team won’t be married to the idea of having five outfielders on the active roster. John Nogowski is one player that the team seems to like a lot. He’s on the 40-man and has taken the Rangel Ravelo role.
Nogowski is interesting because while he’s limited to a corner outfield spot or first base, his contact-first approach is something the team might want on the bench over someone like Justin Williams.
Like everything else, the bench will work itself out but it’ll be fun to watch the fringe guys battle for a spot in the shortened spring
Not having drama in spring training is never a bad thing. The Cardinals are set up in most places and where they aren’t, they’ve got plenty of options.