Thursday, January 16, 2014

Projecting the Cardinals 2014 opening day roster

Let's face it, its been a pretty boring Hot Stove League for the Cardinals.  Most of their offseason shopping was done before Christmas and, as a result of that, the Holidays and busy season, I've been struggling to find things to write about.

Thus, to get me back on track, I decided to take a peek at the Cardinals current roster and see if I could predict who will make it on the opening day 25-man roster.

First, I already predicted the starting lineup and the starting rotation, so they automatically make the roster:

1.  Matt Carpenter, 3B
2.  Jhonny Peralta, SS
3.  Matt Holliday, LF
4.  Allen Craig, RF
5.  Yadier Molina, C
6.  Matt Adams, 1B
7.  Peter Bourjos, CF
8.  Kolten Wong, 2B
9.  Adam Wainwright
10. Shelby Miller
11.  Jaime Garcia
12.  Michael Wacha
13.  Lance Lynn

From there, we know that Mark Ellis will at least earn a spot on the bench, along with John Jay (assuming he's not traded).  The Cardinals will also need a backup catcher, most likely Tony Cruz, which puts us up to 16.

Then, there are certain guys who you figure have already earned a spot in the bullpen, including closer Trevor Rosenthal and setup men Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate and Joe Kelly.

Assuming the Cardinals go with a 13 hitter/12 pitcher split, that leaves the Cards with 2 bench spots and 2 bullpen spots.

Bench Battles

The battles for the last two bench spots will likely come down to Daniel Descalso vs Pete Kozma and Shane Robinson vs Oscar Taveras.

Looking at the first battle, it pretty much comes down Descalso's versatility versus Kozma defense at short.  Granted, Descalso can play short, but if the Cardinals prefer a better defensive player as a backup to Peralta, Kozma is the man.

Given that Ellis is pretty much limited to second, the Cardinals would probably prefer Descalso's versatility to the defense of Kozma, so he gets the nod.

As for the outfield battle, it is more a question as to whether the Cardinals feel that Taveras is ready or if he would be better served with more seasoning in the minors.  Given the time he missed last year due to injury, I see Taveras returning to AAA at least at the start of the season, thus giving the nod to Robinson.

Bullpen Battles

One thing to look for in the spring is the health of Jason Motte.  If he's healthy, he will likely make the opening day roster.  However, I think the Cardinals will play it safe with Motte and let him start the season on a rehab assignment in the minors.

With Motte a question mark and former bullpen members Edward Mujica, Fernando Salas and John Axford no longer with the team, the battle for the last two spots will likely come down to Carlos Martinez, Keith Butler and Sam Freeman.

Look for Martinez to earn a spot, based on his post season work, with the final spot coming down to whoever has the better spring between Butler and Freeman.  I'll give the nod to Freeman, based solely on how he pitched for the Cardinals in 2013.

Thus, here is my projected opening day 25-man roster:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Allen Craig, RF
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Matt Adams, 1B
  7. Peter Bourjos, CF
  8. Kolten Wong, 2B
  9.  Adam Wainwright
  10. Shelby Miller
  11. Jaime Garcia
  12. Michael Wacha
  13. Lance Lynn
  14. Mark Ellis
  15. Jon Jay
  16. Tony Cruz
  17. Daniel Descalso
  18. Shane Robinson
  19. Trevor Rosenthal
  20. Seth Maness
  21. Kevin Siegrist
  22. Randy Choate
  23. Joe Kelly
  24. Carlos Martinez
  25. Sam Freeman


  1. We are lacking some serious pop off the bench. All of the bench guys are just average or below average hitters.

    1. I agree. So, although I do not see Taveras making the opening day roster, I could see him getting the call in June (after the Super 2 cutoff) to provide some pop off the bench.

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  3. I like your roster. I would love to see Taveras open in St. Louis but agree he doesn't need to be rushed and just sit on the bench.

  4. I like our roster and maybe we should keep Taveras over robinson and like the idea of 3 Lhp in bullpen and maybe even 6 guys on bench as well

  5. Catcher Ed Easley has some flexibility with positions i believe and might have been brought in to give Cruz competition. I thought I read somewhere that he played 3rd and the OF.