Here is how the St. Louis Cardinals lineup would look with Tyler O'Neill in center field

St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Cardinals' lineup against left-handed pitching

The Cardinals' lineup looks dangerous against right-handed pitching, the way they stack up against southpaws is even better on paper.

1. SS Tommy Edman 2. CF Tyler O'Neill 3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt 4. 3B Nolan Arenado 5. C Willson Contreras 6. LF Lars Nootbaar 7. RF Dylan Carlson 8. DH Jordan Walker 9. 2B Brendan Donovan

Edman earns lead-off privileges here as he has a career .829 OPS against left-handed pitching and is an elite stolen base threat that should be capitalized on. Nootbaar slides down to the six-spot to lengthen the lineup and mix in some left-handed power. Carlson has a .869 OPS in his career against lefties, and could even rise to the six-spot himself or higher if that trend continues this year.

I like Carlson in the seven-hole here as the club can get creative late in games. Should a righty be on the mound and they are down in the game, Gorman or Yepez could pinch hit and then they can move guys around defensively. If they are up, they can afford to have a below-average hitter against righties in that spot. Again, I think Carlson will be much improved against right-handed pitching, but we'll see.

Walker needs everyday at-bats, so Gorman ends up heading to the bench and Walker becomes the DH. If the club is concerned about moving Donovan to the outfield late in games as a Carlson replacement, they could even DH Carlson instead of Walker.

While it remains to be seen exactly how the Cardinals' lineup will shape up by the end of March, all of these thought exercises remind me of just how deep this lineup will be in 2023.