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Diving into the depths: St. Louis Cardinals

Jan 21, 2010, 5:29 PM EDT

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rotation
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Kyle Lohse
4. Brad Penny
5. Mitchell Boggs
6. Jaime Garcia
7. Kyle McClellan
8. Lance Lynn
9. P.J. Walters
10. Adam Ottavino
The Cardinals still figure to go out and get a veteran fifth starter, and re-signing John Smoltz is one possibility. As is, Boggs should be the favorite for the role — he had a 4.10 ERA in his nine starts for St. Louis last season — but both Garcia and Lynn could be better bets as the year progresses.
Bullpen
1. Ryan Franklin
2. Kyle McClellan
3. Dennys Reyes
4. Trever Miller
5. Jason Motte
6. Blake Hawksworth
7. Josh Kinney
8. Ben Jukich
9. Mitchell Boggs
10. Matt Scherer
11. Tyler Norrick
Another right-handed reliever would also be nice, though that has to be a lower priority. Maybe Motte, who has been working on a curve, will step up this year and fill the eighth-inning role.
The Cardinals haven’t announced any minor league signings beyond Ruben Gotay. They’ve likely already added a few veteran relief-types capable of battling Hawksworth and Kinney for the final spot or two available.


Catcher
1. Yadier Molina
2. Jason LaRue
3. Matt Pagnozzi
4. Bryan Anderson
First base
1. Albert Pujols
2. Mark Hamilton
3. David Freese
4. Joe Mather
Second base
1. Skip Schumaker
2. Julio Lugo
3. Tyler Greene
4. Ruben Gotay
Third base
1. David Freese
2. Julio Lugo
3. Ruben Gotay
4. Tyler Greene
Shortstop
1. Brendan Ryan
2. Julio Lugo
3. Tyler Greene
Freese isn’t a lock for third base just yet, but the re-signing of Holliday, by using up most of the Cardinals’ available budget, dramatically improved his chances. I think he’ll hit, but his defense will probably be pretty spotty, and it might be for the best if the Cards had an experienced third baseman to play behind him. Melvin Mora would be the logical choice.
Left field
1. Matt Holliday
2. Allen Craig
3. Jon Jay
4. Joe Mather
5. Nick Stavinoha
6. Daryl Jones
Center field
1. Colby Rasmus
2. Shane Robinson
3. Skip Schumaker
4. Jon Jay
Right field
1. Ryan Ludwick
2. Nick Stavinoha
3. Joe Mather
4. Allen Craig
5. Jon Jay
The Cardinals have nine outfielders on their 40-man roster, yet they’re still probably going to add a veteran reserve before the start of the spring. Mather, Stavinoha and Robinson just aren’t that good, and all are candidates to be chopped from the roster when spots are needed. The Cards need a right-handed hitter capable of playing center — perhaps Randy Winn or Reed Johnson — and then maybe a left-handed bat as well (Gabe Gross? Frank Catalanotto?). As is, LaRue and Lugo are the only locks for their bench.

  1. lessick - Jan 21, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    It’s stunning how little MLB experience is on this team’s bench.

  2. cardstatman - Jan 21, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    With Lugo/Gotay/Greene and even Craig behind Freese, I doubt they add a 3B.
    #1 need is starting pitching depth. Carp, Penny, and Garcia are all high risk and all backups are unproven.
    A backup CF who can hit LHP would be also be a wise move. Not a platoon but Rasmus has not hit lefties yet.
    They are very vulnerable to injuries to Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter, Wainwright, Franklin, Molina or Rasmus. Most of them have backups below replacement level. Each would be a huge dropoff.
    A healthy season should mean a repeat as NL Central champs. Not a lot of of margin for absorbing injuries, though.

  3. spiro - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    This is not a good looking team. Very pedestrian lineup after Pujols and Holliday, extremely weak bench, mediocre bullpen and the rotation is very shallow after Carp and Wainwright. The Brewers and maybe the Reds and Cubs should both be able to contend with the Cards as currently constructed.

  4. ThatsSoTaguchi - Jan 23, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Yeah that worked out real well for those teams that have not improved last year.

  5. DenverinStL - Jan 24, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    No one is contending with the Cardinals this year. Unless Pujols goes down, St. Louis has the NL Central wrapped up already. Sorry, Brewers, Chubs, and Reds.

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