First and foremost, welcome to the new site. And don’t worry about missing out on any of the over-opinionated content that you’re used to reading at Mike on the Cards. The aptly named Redbird Rants will give you all that and more. I’ve teamed up with another blogger, David Frissell, to help give more ranting and raving about the Cardinals than you can probably stand. We hope you enjoy the new digs, and visit and comment often.
Now on to baseball. With just one week of Spring Training remaining, the Cardinals still have several questions concerning the makeup of their 25-man roster. As David pointed out last week, the starting rotation is about the only area of the ball club that’s set in stone. Who else breaks camp with the big club?
Let’s start with the infield. Of course Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina are entrenched at first and catcher. Newcomer Khalil Greene is the starting shortstop. The Skip Schumaker experiment is no longer that. He will be, at least, the semi-regular second baseman...which brings us to third base. With Troy Glaus’ recent rehab setback, the Cardinals are still looking for his fill-in. From the looks of things right now, David Freese seems to have the upper hand at the open hot corner.
I’ve got to agree with giving the job to Freese, although I think Brian Barden has been pretty impressive in his limited time. Hopefully Glaus won’t miss too much time, and we can enjoy his good glove and streaky bat by May. Now that Skip is an infielder, the surplus of outfielders has been whittled down to five. Tony La Russa should have a ball mixing and matching Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, Chris Duncan, Colby Rasmus, and Joe Mather into the lineup.
I think the case for Rasmus making the club depends on what you think of Duncan. I can understand the idea that Colby needs to play everyday, and if that means in Memphis, then so be it. Personally, I hope the kid gets the glut of the playing time because we all know that Dunc’s a liability out there.
The competition for the remaining bullpen spots continues. Certainly making the cut are the new lefties, Trevor Miller and Dennys Reyes. Ryan Franklin is a lock. Flamethrower Jason Motte has been impressive, although the staff is naming him the closer I assume Kyle McClellan makes the team after his 2008 campaign. That leaves Josh Kinney, Brad Thompson, and Chris Perez fighting for two spots. Kinney has had a good spring, Thompson is valuable as a swing man, and Perez has a live arm, although he missed some time recently.
In Rick Hummel’s latest article, he mentions Perez as the possible odd man out. I’d rather do without Thompson, but I can understand the case against Perez. Even if he’s sent down, we’re sure to see him with the big club sometime soon.
Finally, who makes up the bench? Well, we know the backup catcher is Jason LaRue, and two of the five outfielders will at least start the game on the pine. The Cardinals need to carry two reserve infielders, with the possibilities including Brendan Ryan, Joe Thurston, and Brian Barden.
I see Ryan and Thurston making the team, simply because of Major League experience.
So what’s your roster prediction?
That’s it for now. Bear with us as we fine tune the new site, and remember, feedback is appreciated.