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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Where is Matt Adams, already?

Though we don’t yet know the severity of the shoulder injury St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay suffered during Thursday’s game, there is plenty of speculation and suggestion about what the club might do in response.

Already down one man due to a recurrence of Lance Berkman’s calf injury, the club appears to be ready to bring Skip Schumaker off rehab early for the second consecutive year. That is clearly a performance downgrade. As good as fill-in first baseman Matt Carpenter has been in the early going, he isn’t Berkman.

Of course, Schumaker is more relevant in the context of Jay’s potential replacement. Skip can step in if needed, but what about the Cardinals bench? The immediate options in Memphis to backfill Jay’s roster spot, infielder Pete Kozma (.261) and outfielder Adron Chambers (.229) haven’t started 2012 particularly well with the bat. Neither have third baseman Zack Cox (.137) and catcher Bryan Anderson (.045), other slow-starting Memphians. Like Kozma and Chambers, they are on the 40-man roster, but don’t fit well with the current needs from a defensive position perspective.

Some of the anxious and excited, especially those who don’t understand or care how rosters work, want to see hard-hitting first baseman Matt Adams head up I-55 from Memphis to St. Louis today. They apparently believe one Matt – Adams – would be a substantial upgrade starting at first base over the “other” Matt – Carpenter.

However, the Cardinals’ 40-man roster is full. Some suggest moving the “main” Carpenter, Chris, to the 60-day disabled list to create roster space for Adams.

The situation is more complex than that.

If the Cardinals truly believe that Chris Carpenter won’t be ready until June, then there is little immediate risk in putting him on the 60-day DL retroactive to the start of the season.

One problem is that no one knows. What if Carp improves next week? Is it worth the risk of not being able to use Carp for several weeks compared to the difference between your 25th man being a player already on the roster and one that is not?

Further, taking such a step now would force making a tough roster decision as soon as Carp is ready to come off the 60-day. Whenever it would be, another player will have to be dropped. One has to assess the risk of long-term loss for potential of some short-term gain.

The last two players the Cards removed from the 40-man were both snapped up off the waiver wire. One could argue that both reliever Adam Ottavino and especially outfielder Andrew Brown could be of value to the Cardinals right now had they remained.

Some of the many interrelated factors that must be considered by general manager John Mozeliak include the following:

  • How long will Berkman and Jay be out?
  • How long until Allen Craig will be ready?
  • Is Mark Hamilton getting closer from returning from his spring injury?
  • How much would the new player to be added to the 40-man and 25-man, Adams, actually play?
  • How much of an improvement would that be over what Matt Carpenter is providing?
  • How would this affect Adams’ contract status and potential free agency down the road?
  • Who would the Cardinals drop from the 40-man when Chris Carpenter is healthy?

Bottom line, I am not among those clamoring for Adams – based on what we know right now. If the variables change significantly, so might my point of view.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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35 Responses to “Where is Matt Adams, already?”

  1. CariocaCardinal says:

    Really a tough break for Hamilton that he is injured. This might be the best shot he would ever get at playing regularly for an extended stretch at the big league level.

  2. crdswmn says:

    My experience so far with fans who are clamoring for bringing up Adams is simply a lack of understanding how roster moves are made. Some fans think you can just move people around willy nilly on a whim. It doesn’t help when people who should know better make the suggestions without explaining the consequences.

    I’m sure Mo is too smart to make roster moves that don’t make sense, no matter how popular they might be with fans.

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      Well, the Matt Carpenter call up last year was questionable in my opinion. It was worse than Adams would be because Adams will need to be added at the end of the year anyway where that wasn’t the case with Carpenter. Turned out only affecting roster spots over the Winter as Carpenter probably would have been added to start the season in the majors but certainly wasn’t a given last summer.

      • crdswmn says:

        There is a little bit of difference, in that there was, as I recall, an open roster spot when Carpenter was added, so no one needed to be removed and risked. The issue here as I see it is what Brian talked about, risking a current 40 man player for short term gain.

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          Slight difference but not much. Carpenter’s addition resulted in losing Brown later. Linebrink is the one that really screwed us. Maybe he should go on the 60 day DL.

  3. crdswmn says:

    MLB and MLBPA have agreed to no longer approve personal service contracts for players. Pujols’ agreement is grandfathered in and will not be affected. Interesting.

  4. Brian Walton says:

    Berkman and Skip moves are now official.

  5. blingboy says:

    Lance out is a perfect excuse to get Holliday out of the #3 spot. I’d like to see the two RBI leaders, MCarp and Freese at 3-4, but more likely is 3-5 sandwiching Matt.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Matheny isn’t getting your vibe… and I hope Mo isn’t either 😉

      Lineup (corrected): Furcal 6, M Carpenter 3, Holliday 7, Beltran 9, Freese 5, Molina 2, Schumaker 8, Descalso 4, Lynn 1.

      • crdswmn says:

        The Official Cardinals Twitter account has Robinson in CF.

        • Brian Walton says:

          Yes, I updated the post above to correct that (and then put it back). Thanks.

          • crdswmn says:

            Okay, now it’s back to Schumaker. Ugh. If they must play Skip, can’t they play him in right and move Beltran to center? This is going to be painful.

            • Brian Walton says:

              Of course, you know it is all about protecting Beltran’s knees.

              • crdswmn says:

                Whatever, I’d rather have Robinson then. Playing center field is more than being able to hit. If it were only about hitting, David Freese would be playing center. We have to have someone with speed and the ability to get to the difficult balls. Skip ain’t it.

                I am just going to have to bite the bullet and keep my mouth shut about Skip. Where are the Rolaids?

            • blingboy says:

              O come on. Beltran at this point isn’t going to be a better CF than Skippy. Besides, Robinson, Komatsu, Greene gives us a bruising right, left, right off the bench. I’m leaving for work, so I’ll miss the batting glove action I’ve been longing for. Go Skip!

              • crdswmn says:

                I just can’t go along with the total lack of concern about defense. I am not not nor have I ever been an offense only counts baseball fan. And I don’t intend to become one.

            • LarryBird says:

              Very Painful!
              I like Skips attitude but I do not believe he belongs on this club. There are better options than putting Skip in center and he and Komatsu just proved that.

  6. blingboy says:

    One factor in the Chris Carp to 60 day DL debate is that we already have 5 solid starters. The only laggard is Wainy and he wouldn’t be the one to go anyway. How much would we be sacrificing to have Lynn going until the end of May instead of Carpenter? Not much IMO.

    So perhaps that is the smart move since we need other things worse than a sixth starter right now.

  7. blingboy says:

    As to the later move when Carp would come off the 60 DL. If Adams was moved on to the 40 man there would be no point having Hamilton on it.

  8. Brian Walton says:

    So what you are saying is that Lynn is adequate to replace Carpenter temporarily, but you are willing to risk losing Mark Hamilton for nothing in return simply because you think Matt Adams is that much better than Matt Carpenter for whatever time Berkman is out (or until Craig is ready, whichever comes first)…


    • blingboy says:

      Hamilton is not likely to factor into the Cards future IMO. If he has significant trade value, I was not aware of it.

      I am perfectly happy with MCarp. I’d like to see him at first mostly. The middle infield situation is more solid and flexible if DD doesn’t have to be the primary 3B backup, so MCarp could do that. Adams would get some reps at 1B and give us more than a wet noodle off the bench.

  9. blingboy says:

    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS

    2. Matt Carpenter (L) 1B

    3. Matt Holliday (R) LF

    4. Carlos Beltran (S) RF

    5. David Freese (R) 3B

    6. Yadier Molina (R) C

    7. Shane Robinson (R) CF

    8. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B

    9. Lance Lynn (R) P

  10. blingboy says:

    The Skip/Tyler lefty/righty duo off the bench will give closers a heart attack. (If they don’t die laughing)

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