No. 1: Does Tommy Edman stay in center field?
Injuries to both Tyler O'Neill and Lars Nootbaar suddenly left the Cardinals with little to no depth in the outfield. Dylan Carlson and maybe minor league signee Oscar Mercado were the only two players with any sort of center field experience, but the Cards elected to go a different route instead.
For the past few weeks, utilityman extraordinaire Tommy Edman has actually been the go-to option out there. Throughout his five-year career, the switch-hitter has played three of the four infield spots and both outfield corners, but center was a whole new animal for him. Naturally, the always-slick-fielding Edman has taken to the position as if he's been playing there his whole life.
In a total of 16 games, the 28-year-old has yet to commit an error in 54 total attempts and over 136 innings. In that time, he's managed to accrue 2 Outs Above Average (per Statcast) and 2 Defensive Runs Saved. To just pick up a new position like this and run away with it is not something you see every day, especially not when the position is center field - one of the hardest to play on the diamond.
So that leaves the question for the Cardinals, what happens to Edman's role out there now that Nootbaar has returned from the Injured List?
The easiest answer is to take Edman and return him to his role as a player who can bounce around all over the place while predominantly calling the middle infield his home. But it may not be that simple. With uber-prospect Jordan Walker in left field, Dylan Carlson in right field, Paul DeJong at shortstop, and Brendan Donovan at second, where does someone like Edman go?
With Nolan Gorman struggling as the team's everyday designated hitter and DeJong's highly suspect track record, there does seem to be an avenue to playing time for everyone here. Perhaps Walker could begin to get some time as the DH, which would open up a spot in left field for either Nootbaar or Edman? Or even better, moving DeJong to a bench role where he can play second, third, or short to fill in for starters may be an option as well.
In Monday's lineup, Carlson was moved to the bench, Walker started at DH, Edman remained in center field, and the corner outfield was handled by Brendan Donovan and Lars Nootbaar. Time will tell if that remains the case.