Which Cardinals are at risk of losing their roster spots when injured players return?

As the Cardinals get more reinforcements off the injured list, it will impact who they decide to keep on their 26-man roster.
Baltimore Orioles v St. Louis Cardinals
Baltimore Orioles v St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Michael Siani and Dylan Carlson are at risk of losing their roster spot when Tommy Edman returns

The return of Tommy Edman will make a larger impact on this team than I think most fans realize. Not only did Edman show us during the second half of the 2023 season that he can be one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, but his bat is also head and shoulders better than what both Michael Siani and Dylan Carlson have provided for the club this season.

Edman is a career 99 wRC+ guy, so basically a league-average hitter, while projections had him being slightly above league average this year, A league-average bat doesn't sound like a massive upgrade by any means, but when you consider who he'd be replacing, it's easy to see how improved this Cardinal lineup would be.

Siani, while playing excellent defense in center field and providing timely bunts and sacrifice hits at the bottom of the lineup, is still slashing .209/.253/.284 (.537 OPS) which is good for a 55 wRC+ on the season. Well, what about Dylan Carlson? Somehow, he's been even worse than Siani so far, posting a .165/.253/.190 slash line (.443 OPS) which gives him a 35 wRC+ on the season.

Basically, instead of getting league-average production offensively from center field this year, the Cardinals have been running out two players who range from 45%-65% below league average offensively, with Victor Scott II providing even less production from center field during his brief stint to begin the season.

Are the Cardinals getting a big bat back when Edman returns? No, but they are upgrading from some of the worst production in the league at any position and with someone who is substantially better. Not only that, we've all grown accustomed to Edman's ability to come up big in clutch moments, something this lineup desperately needs.

Seeing how the Cardinals address this roster spot will speak volumes about how they view their outfield mix going forward. In a vacuum, Siani has been the more valuable player for the Cardinals this year. He plays elite defense in center field, can do damage on the basepaths, knows how to lay down a bunt better than almost anyone, and has even been a better hitter than Carlson this year.

But we all know the prospect pedigree Carlson had, and as bad as things have been this year for Carlson, the ceiling with him is higher than Siani. And yet, it feels like the best decision for this team would be to send Carlson to Memphis or prepare to trade him, rather than give up Siani's spot on the roster.