3 changes we'd already make to the 2023 St. Louis Cardinals
By Eric Treuden
Give Brendan Donovan more time at shortstop
After bursting onto the scene in a big way last year, Brendan Donovan, 26, is expected to play an important role on this club in 2023 and beyond. He emerged seemingly out of nowhere last year with a 126 OPS+ in 126 games and also 1.0 Defensive Wins Above Replacement as well; filling in all over the diamond at an above-average rate.
Donovan got the majority of his playing time last year at second base (38) games, and while he plays that position well, perhaps he could start to play a bit more at shortstop to give Tommy Edman some time to right himself?
Edman, another super-utility type the Cardinals know and love, started off a bit slow this season but has begun to turn it around as of late. Through 11 games, he has a home run and a .289 average with an OPS+ of 111. He, like Donovan, can bounce around and play anywhere, but he's been tied to shortstop exclusively to start the season.
Plugging Donovan in at short, notoriously one of, if not the, most physically demanding and difficult positions to play on the field, would give Edman some much-needed time off of his feet. They're both young players, but allowing the sophomore to spread his proverbial wings a bit and take some of the full-time duties there off of Edman's shoulders could wind up being beneficial for all involved.
Donovan has made just one appearance at short this year, but he had a .967 fielding percentage last year in 56 innings at the position. This is not a plan to take Edman out of the lineup, but instead to allow an equally-versatile player to get some time at short as well to take the burden off of the veteran's shoulders.