Skip to content

Cardinals’ lack of action could be their undoing

Feb 21, 2013, 11:59 PM EDT

Mike Matheny, Chris Carpenter AP

It’s hard to blame the Cardinals for staying the course. Even with free agents Kyle Lohse and Lance Berkman set to depart, St. Louis ended 2012 with a roster that already looked like a winner entering 2013:

Rotation: Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal

Bullpen: Jason Motte, Rosenthal, Edward Mujica, Fernando Salas, Mitchell Boggs, Kelly, Marc Rzepczynski, Eduardo Sanchez, Victor Marte

Lineup: CF Jon Jay, RF Carlos Beltran, LF Matt Holliday, 1B Allen Craig, C Yadier Molina, 3B David Freese, SS Rafael Furcal, 2B Matt Carpenter/Daniel Descalso

What did it make sense to do from there? Upgrade at second base? Perhaps, but it was probably the weakest position in free agency this winter. The Cardinals were rumored to have made a run at Marco Scutaro before he re-signed with the Giants.

Upgrade the rotation? Since the Cards seemed committed to Carpenter and Westbrook, that probably would have meant sending Lynn back to the bullpen and there simply weren’t many starters available in free agency that were better bets than Lynn and those few would have been expensive.

Adding to the bench should have been a priority, and the Cardinals did. Unfortunately, they did so with Ty Wigginton, a defensive liability no longer worthy of a roster spot. They also signed Ronny Cedeno as a shortstop fallback rather than trust an encore performance from late-season surprise Pete Kozma.

Besides those two, the only notable newcomer is lefty specialist Randy Choate.

That the Cardinals did so little might have been just fine if not for the events of the last month. Carpenter is expected to miss the season after his nerve problems returned with a┬ávengeance. Miller, the early favorite to replace him in the rotation, is sidelined with shoulder tightness. And Furcal, the lineup’s biggest question mark, is still having problems with his throwing elbow.

The Cardinals are still fairly well protected in the rotation. Even if they have to dig down deeper as the season progresses, top prospects Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha could prove ready. Rosenthal should be a big weapon wherever he happens to be deployed.

The team is also very well set in the outfield, what with top prospect Oscar Taveras available to step in if Beltran goes down. The Cards can even put Craig back in a corner and call up power-hitting Matt Adams to play first base if needed.

The middle infield is a big issue, though, particularly in light of Furcal’s ill health. Ideally, Matt Carpenter will prove capable at second base and win the job there. However, if he can’t handle the defensive responsibilities, the Cards could be looking at spending big chunks of the season with the light-hitting Descalso covering one spot and Cedeno, Kozma and Ryan Jackson vying for the other.

At third base, Freese also has an extensive injury history, and while Carpenter is a fine fallback there, he can’t play second if he’s starting at the hot corner.

With spring training games having even yet to start, the Cardinals’ depth has been whittled away. If it stops now, the team is still in very good position, particularly since it should have plenty of flexibility to pull off in-season trades. Still, it’s fair to express disappointment that the team didn’t do better than Wigginton and Cedeno for the bench. A Scutaro to start at second or a Kelly Johnson to give added protection would look quite nice right now. The left-handed-hitting Eric Chavez would have made a lot more sense as a backup to two right-handed-hitting corner infielders than Wigginton does. Time will tell if those misfires come back to bite them.

Latest Posts
  1. A fan died at Turner Field after falling from the upper deck

    Aug 30, 2015, 12:03 AM EDT

    Turner Field Getty Images

    A fan heckling Alex Rodriguez from the upper deck fell and died at Turner Field on Saturday night.

  2. Alex Gordon likely to rejoin the Royals on Tuesday

    Aug 29, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

    The Royals will likely get Alex Gordon back when the calendar turns to September.

  3. Mariners will skip Felix Hernandez’s start on Monday

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez Getty Images

    Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon wants to keep Felix Hernandez fresh through the end of the season, so he’ll skip his ace’s start on Monday.

  4. Indians will activate Gavin Floyd from the disabled list on Tuesday

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

    Gavin Floyd Gavin Floyd

    Gavin Floyd will pitch out of the bullpen for the Indians when he is activated on Tuesday.

  5. Francisco Rodriguez was claimed on waivers, but the Brewers pulled him back

    Aug 29, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT

    francisco rodriguez getty Getty Images

    The Brewers pulled Francisco Rodriguez back after he was claimed on revocable waivers last week.

  6. Mets acquire Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:28 PM EDT

    Addison Reed Addison Reed

    The Mets have bolstered their bullpen, acquiring Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks.

  7. Lance Lynn exits Saturday’s start with an ankle injury

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Lance Lynn Lance Lynn

    Lance Lynn hurt his right ankle in the eighth inning of Saturday’s start versus the Giants.

  8. Astros place Jason Castro on the disabled list, promote Max Stassi

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Max Stassi Max Stassi

    Max Stassi will return to the majors as Jason Castro was placed on the disabled list on Saturday.

  9. Vin Scully says 2016 will be his last season of broadcasting

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    vin scully getty Getty Images

    2016 will be Vin Scully’s last season behind the mic.

  10. Report: Mets claim Marc Rzepczynski on revocable waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT

    MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 06: Marc Rzepczynski #45 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 06, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rzepczynski was just acquired by the Padres last month, but he could soon be on the move again.

  11. Edwin Encarnacion slugs three home runs as Blue Jays thrash Tigers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion rounds the bases following a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT AP

    Encarnacion extended his hitting steak to 24 games and also drove in a career-high nine runs.

  12. Report: The Padres pulled Craig Kimbrel back off waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel pumps his fist as he watches the final out in the Padres' 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) AP

    Kimbrel won’t be traded this season.

  13. Anthony Gose forgets how many outs there after catching fly ball, run scores from second base

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTRlMDNlNmY2MWJkMTQ0Y2NhM2I0YmQzNjcxNTNmN2Y0 Getty Images

    Gose had a costly brain camp this afternoon against the Blue Jays.

  14. Important: There will be a Meeting of the Mookies this afternoon

    Aug 29, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04:  Mookie Wilson formerly of the New York Mets waves to the fans before throwing out the first pitch for a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of the National League Division Series at Shea Stadium on October 4, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Mookie Betts and Mookie Wilson will meet Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

  15. Terry Francona says he won’t use opt-out clause with Indians for “leverage”

    Aug 29, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Indians manager Terry Francona has the ability to opt out of his contract if team president Mark Shapiro or general manager Chris Antonetti were to leave the organization.

  16. Out since May with concussion symptoms, Justin Morneau begins minor league rehab assignment

    Aug 29, 2015, 11:36 AM EDT

    Injured Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, left, talks with teammate Carlos Gonzalez who he heads to the plate to face the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Denver. The Rockies won 5-0. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

    Morneau has been out since May 13 with a concussion symptoms and a cervical neck strain.

  17. Video: Catwalk at Tropicana Field leaves Kevin Kiermaier hanging

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    kiermaier

    The catwalk at Tropicana Field strikes again. After it robbed Twins rookie Miguel Sano of a home run on Thursday night, it fooled Rays outfield Kevin Kiermaier on this two-run homer from Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales last night.

  18. Mark Teixeira says he’s having “serious pain” when he tries to run

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT

    on August 9, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images

    Teixeira fouled a ball of his right leg on August 17 and hasn’t seen much in the way of improvement.

  19. Video: Jonny Gomes pitched for the Braves last night

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    Atlanta Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was pitching in relief, tips his cap as New York Yankees' Chris Young rounds the bases after a solo home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    With the Braves getting blown out by the Yankees last night, outfielder Jonny Gomes got an opportunity to pitch the top of the ninth inning. As you might expect, it was pretty entertaining.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (2482)
  2. D. Span (2322)
  3. G. Stanton (2258)
  4. Y. Puig (2220)
  5. J. Fernandez (2175)
  1. G. Springer (1996)
  2. B. Crawford (1993)
  3. M. Teixeira (1801)
  4. M. Sano (1800)
  5. J. Hamilton (1720)