Brendan Donovan may be replacing Paul DeJong as the Cardinals' backup shortstop

Oct 4, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Brendan Donovan (33)
Oct 4, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Brendan Donovan (33) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

One of Brendan Donovan's roles may now be backup shortstop for the Cardinals

Yesterday, I talked about how St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong making the Opening Day roster wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to the club, mainly because the 13th position player on the roster will likely ride the bench anyways. It does more harm than good to a young player like Masyn Winn or Alec Burleson to have them rarely play, so I'd rather DeJong have to sit through that.

But as I mentioned yesterday, DeJong had another injury setback this week, with may end up causing the Cardinals to get creative with their backup shortstop situation. It's very possible that DeJong starts the year on the IL, creating an opening on the roster and a void at backup shortstop. While Brendan Donovan will remain an everyday player for the club, he may have just found even more opportunities as the club's backup shortstop.

I talked about this recently, but Donovan's best role on this Cardinals' club is not being pigeonholed as the club's second baseman, but rather, playing every day at a variety of positions. He can start at second base often, fill in at third when Nolan Arenado needs a day off, get some time at first base or the outfield when needed, and now, allow Tommy Edman to have a day off when needed.

Will the club suffer a bit defensively? Sure. But with Nolan Gorman's defensive strides this spring, having Donovan fill in at shortstop once every 5-7 games shouldn't be a problem at all. And let's be honest, I think we'd all rather see Donovan fill it at shortstop, rather than DeJong.

Alec Burleson, Masyn Winn, and Moises Gomez still won't make the roster

As deserving as Burleson, Winn, and even Moises Gomez have been at a shot in St. Louis to start the year, I still don't believe any of the three will sneak onto the roster in place of Paul DeJong, assuming there are no injuries or major changes with any other players on the roster.

If Juan Yepez makes the roster, Burleson and Gomez would be better served getting at-bats in Memphis to start the year. Even if DeJong isn't on the roster, Winn wouldn't get enough playing time to make his presence on the roster worth it either. I'd much rather have my shortstop of the future continue to develop and play consistently, rather than get a random at-bat or start here or there.

My eyes turn to two players to make the roster if DeJong does not: Kramer Robertson and Taylor Motter. While neither player is the flashy play by any means, and both are less deserving than these other guys, it makes way more sense for St. Louis to have them be the 13th man than one of their top prospects.

Outside of the playing time issue, Robertson and Motter can also act as an emergency middle infield option, should an injury occur and they need someone to play in a pinch. Without DeJong on the roster, there are only two players who can play shortstop and only three total players who can play the middle infield. To begin the season, DeJong, Robertson, or Motter need to be on the roster to fill that void, when needed.

We will continue to monitor the DeJong situation as camp is wrapping up. The World Baseball Classic and strong Spring Training performances are making for a very interesting conversation about the Opening Day roster.

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