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Adams should be pulling for Carpenter and Kozma

In a recent post, I explained why slugging first baseman Matt Adams’ chances of making the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals out of spring training camp were seemingly scuttled by the decision of the club to carry a reserve centerfielder.

Shortly after, general manager John Mozeliak left the door open for Adams, saying the following:

“I certainly think he’s accomplished a lot in Triple-A, and trying to find at-bats at the major-league level is important,” Mozeliak told reporters. “We do believe he has a chance to have an impact bat at the major-league level.”

All the 24-year-old has done so far this spring is go 8-for-20, with an early line of .400/.455/.700/1.155. Adams has two home runs and seven RBI. Of special note is that both his long balls came as a pinch-hitter, important given his potential appeal as a late-game masher off the bench.

So, how might Adams make the team?

How about through the middle infield?

No, I don’t mean entering the burly Adams into the second base scrum.

I mean second baseman Matt Carpenter and shortstop Pete Kozma proving they can handle their positions on an every-day basis. That could free up Daniel Descalso to back up both of them.

Though Descalso lacks the range to be a regular option at short, he could serve as a reserve to Kozma. Carpenter winning the second base job is key since he cannot play the reserve shortstop role.

In the case of an injury to any of them, a replacement could be immediately summoned from Memphis.

With Ronny Cedeno performing poorly this spring and apparently holding a non-guaranteed contract, would the organization be comfortable releasing him and going with a relatively inexperienced Carpenter-Kozma-Descalso middle infield?

Adams’ opening day chances may depend on it.

Currently, the five-player bench seems to be shaping up like this:

Tony Cruz
Ty Wigginton
Centerfielder (likely Shane Robinson)
Descalso-Carpenter non-starter
The final spot

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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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25 Responses to “Adams should be pulling for Carpenter and Kozma”

  1. Brian Walton says:

    Way to go bling! You are clearly “in the know!”

    The Cardinals have reached an agreement with Allen Craig on 5-year contract through the 2017 season plus a club option for 2018.

  2. Oquendo11 says:

    I don’t think Carpenter needs to “win” the 2B starting job, he only needs to show he can “handle” 2B. Descalso can be the starting 2B and the backup SS, moving over to SS if/when Kozma comes out and Carpenter coming in to 2B.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    The Cards are best served by Adams at AAA during 2013. Adams is super slow and would be a defensive horror in LF or RF. Craig is an everyday incumbent at 1B. Rather than rot on the bench in St Louis, confined to pinch-hitting, Adams should be playing everyday at Memphis. The Cards decide where Adams plays and can assign him where he best serves the needs of his employer during 2013, AAA.
    If there is an injury to Craig or a corner OF during 2013, Adams could well get the call. As long as we are full personnel strength, Big Matt should be at Memphis.

    If somebody should be released, it should be the guy Mo was a chump to sign in the first place, Old Wiggy. Its unlikely Wiggy can contribute enough over the next two years to justify a roster slot, so he is going to get released, its merely a question of when. His early spring OPS is under 500. We do not need him at 3B or 1B and he would be a defensive liability in RF/LF. If we did not have Wiggy’s dead weight on the roster, then Adams might be a more plausible bench candidate. Mo never should have pandered to sports columnists by recruiting a right swinging bench player as some agitated for. Wiggy will make the April roster. We should run a contest here for predicting Wiggy’s release date during the season.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      The bench will look as follows:
      OF reserve: Shane Robinson. He can platoon in CF and spell the corners. Provides some speed for a slow team.
      Catcher: Cruz or Johnson.
      Utility: Matt Carpenter. Spot starter at 2B, 3B, 1B, RF, LF versus RHPs.
      Middlie infielder: Ronny Cedeno
      Final slot: Wigginton. Spot starter at 3B, RF, LF, 1B. versus LHPs. If Wiggy does not perform, the Cards could cut him and bring up Aldon Chambers to gain some energy off the bench.

      • Nutlaw says:

        Adams had a .986 OPS in Memphis last year and will turn 25 this season. He doesn’t need development time. He’ll never be adequate in the outfield. Absent trades or injuries, he doesn’t have a starting job now or any time in the near future given the glut of talent on the team. He might as well get used to being the left handed power off of the bench right now and provide the 2013 Cardinals with a boost.

        Other than Johnson potentially winning the catcher job, I think that I’m with you there in all probability, Jumbo. However, the team most certainly doesn’t need both Robinson and Chambers. If someone doesn’t perform, Adams comes up.

        You’ve already got the quote from the GM saying that he doesn’t need development time and that they are trying to find a roster spot for him above in the article.

        • Brian Walton says:

          You should know by now that he brushes off as posturing any quotes that do not agree with his notions.

          I can name $5 million reasons Wigginton is not going anywhere.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          A good GM has lots of stories and spins. One way to help sell fans on sending Adams down will be to talk up how much you want him in the majors, just as Mo is doing. Its misdirection and covering all the bases. Adams knows the gig and says he will focus on playing, where-ever he is stationed, a good attitude.
          If a major run producer gets hurt, the Cards are fortunate to have both Adams and Taveras waiting in the wings.
          I’d rather have Chambers than Wiggy off the bench. Chambers can defend (which is underrated), pinch-run, and get on base. We are lucky to have him available as Jay’s backup. Chambers like Adams will be stashed at Memphis where we should have a solid team. The Cards may want to have Wigginton to bat during starts by Chapman. My money is on Chapman besting Wiggy.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Consider the latest spin from the PD about how Greg Garcia is now ahead of Ryan Jackson on the depth chart. What a knee-slapper. Mo is doing standup comedy for the P-D.
    I guess this means we will stash Jackson at 3B for Memphis, just like we stashed Kozma at 2b last year for Memphis. Garcia can be the main SS for Memphis during 2013. Playing Garcia at SS will be fine, there is nothing wrong with doing this, while Jackson collects more AAA at bats. Maybe featuring Garcia at SS can give him more trade value.
    I hope Matheny takes Jackson aside and tells him to shut it all out and focus on his game and not get discouraged by big league media antics.

  5. jj-cf-stl says:

    wigginton was signed to free up matt adams as a trade chip, which limits adams service time to increase trade value, while he’s in memphis waiting for any injury opportunity.

  6. jj-cf-stl says:

    ty can hit LH pitching, so he has vs loogy PH value. you implying adams can’t hit both LH and RHP’s?

    Ty’s a bum vs RH pitching and a butcher with a glove on. since our depth at 1B is limited after trade chip adams (scruggs / peterson), and we would like to free up matt carp at 1B reliance, ty fills a very, very limited role and could get over-exposed far too often.

    his salary is not a major issue. he’s using schumaker funds, who at least could hit RHP’s, the 70% split.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Perhaps you misunderstand me. I am not defending the Wigginton signing. Far from it. When it happened, I scratched my head like most others, but at this point, I accept that it is a done deal. He was signed to a two-year contract apparently because the organization perceives he fills a need that was not met by their returning players or was going to be met this year or next – a veteran RH bat off the bench. I don’t think the signing was to free up Adams for trade – he was available before, too. You can hold out hope the Cards will release Wigginton and eat $5 million, but I don’t consider that to be a practical alternative. Like it or not, I see his contract giving him job security.

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