7 players who could contend for the Cardinals' final bench spot in 2024

With the departure of Richie Palacios, someone else gets to try and make St. Louis's roster out of Spring Training.

Wichita Wind Surge v Frisco RoughRiders
Wichita Wind Surge v Frisco RoughRiders / Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/GettyImages
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Pedro Pages

The Cardinals' promotion of Pedro Pages back in November was noteworthy. His inclusion on the 40-man roster booted Andrew Knizner off the team, and it spoke volumes about the team's desire to let Ivan Herrera get some run in the majors. Pages had an .805 OPS in AA Springfield in 2023, and he is developing well defensively.

Pages is known as an excellent blocker and receiver, and he has received strong reviews across the board for his defensive abilities. His bat finally caught up to his glove this past year. Should the Cardinals continue to try Willson Contreras at positions other than catcher next year, Pages could be a backup to Ivan Herrera.

Pages' inclusion on the MLB roster next year would complicate things, but there is a scenario in which the Cardinals carry three catchers on the major league roster next year. He is on the 40-man roster at the moment.

Thomas Saggese

Thomas Saggese would be the surprise pick, but he would also be the most exciting pick to take the last roster spot next year. Saggese was acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Texas Rangers, and he was absolutely unstoppable in the minors last year. Saggese won the Texas League MVP award in 2023, and he was a key piece in the Springfield lineup after the Deadline.

Thomas Saggese slashed .331/.403/.662 for AA Springfield in just thirty-three games. His ten home runs and 168 wRC+ were strong enough to earn him a promotion to AAA Memphis for the final weeks of the season. Saggese struggled in Memphis, but he at least got his toes wet. There is a little concern about his strikeout rates (27.2% for his minor league career), but should he slug over .600, the team will take that exchange.

Saggese isn't on the 40-man roster, so that would require some roster manipulation to give him the ability to play in St. Louis next year. He is likely the longest shot to break Spring Training with the MLB team, but it would be exciting to see him in St. Louis, and it would say a lot about the franchise's belief in him. He is able to play every position on the infield; this defensive versatility plays in his favor.

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