A recent comment by blingboy led me to ponder the question that led to this post – Who might the reserves behind the St. Louis Cardinals reserves be?
Of course, we have to begin with those projected to make up the season-opening five-man bench. My current thinking:
Adams making the team is the shakiest prediction, in my opinion. This implies Ronny Cedeno will be released and Daniel Descalso serves as the reserve shortstop as well as second baseman. Also inherent in the assumptions is that Matt Carpenter is the more regular starter at second.
It should go without saying that I could be wrong, but those are my assumptions for this article today.
Back up, back up catcher
Even if Audry Perez is pushed up to Memphis, one would think he would not be called up to St. Louis to sit on the bench if Tony Cruz suffers an injury or (gasp) he has to play regularly for Yadier Molina.
More likely, whichever veteran between Rob Johnson and J.R. Towles is kept around into the regular season at Memphis would get the nod. I am guessing both will not remain past spring camp. Johnson received the majority of the playing time earlier, with Towles seeing more action lately. I base my Johnson guess as being the most mentor-qualified of the two, but that is without any proof.
No matter what, a 40-man roster berth would be required to bring another catcher to St. Louis. That does not appear to be a problem right now. Chris Carpenter’s spot is open and another could be created by placing Rafael Furcal onto the 60-day disabled list as well.
Back up, back up corner infielder
This job was Carpenter’s before he became a second baseman and Ty Wigginton was signed. The latter’s primary positions are first and third base, but his main role may be right-handed pinch-hitter. If there was an obvious backfill for this role in Memphis, perhaps Wigginton would not have been signed to a two-year contract in the first place.
With Adams assumed to be in St. Louis, there are no MLB-ready first or third basemen in Memphis. The good news is that there are other options to back up the corners if Wigginton is injured. For example, Descalso has played some third already. The catchers are among those with first baseman mitts in their bags.
Back up, back up middle infielder
OK, so the above answer was a cop-out. I did not name a reserve-reserve there, but I get a second chance here. Before last September, one would have thought Ryan Jackson would be the next infielder called up from Memphis. The curious handling of Jackson coupled with all the spring talk about Greg Garcia makes this far less clear.
Both players could see enough time at the corners as well as the middle infield positions in Memphis to be able to help out in St. Louis if called. Jackson has the 40-man roster spot and the Triple-A experience, but how long will that last?
Adron Chambers’ spring play has been eclipsed by Shane Robinson’s other-worldly performance. Still, Chambers has been up before and done a credible job. Hitting left-handed in contrast to Robinson’s right-handed bat might require other role juggling, but I don’t think it is a show-stopper for Chambers.
I see Adron as the clear leader here.
Back up, back up first baseman
We all know it. The Cards do not currently need Adams defensively. They want his bat. Given I had this roster spot earmarked for the middle infielder Cedeno until this week, if Adams really makes the team, his replacement if he gets injured could be anyone.
Unfortunately, the organization does not have another designated masher at the ready in Memphis. Well, check that. I don’t see the Cardinals being willing to bring up Oscar Taveras for spot duty. My best guess is that Chambers or perhaps one of the infielders would get the call if Adams is injured.
What do you think? Let’s discuss it below.