St. Louis Cardinals Early 2012 Lineup and Starting Pitching Preview

Zacharee CurtisContributor IIIJuly 22, 2011

St. Louis Cardinals Early 2012 Lineup and Starting Pitching Preview

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    I know that we are just getting to the trade deadline this season, but I'm taking a look at what the Cardinals could look like next season before any trades happen.  

    So I'm wanting to hear from you readers on what you think about this lineup and these starters.

    I'm assuming that the Cardinals and Albert Pujols reach an agreement, but other than that, players like Lance Berkman and Jake Westbrook will not be re-signed by the Cardinals. 

1B: Albert Pujols

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    Like I said in the intro, I've got the Cardinals and Albert Pujols reaching an agreement this offseason.  

    Therefore, the obvious starter for the Cardinals at first is Albert Pujols. There isn't really much else to talk about here.


    The backup would be Allen Craig.   

2B: Jose Garcia

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    Second Base shall be an interesting to see what the Cardinals do in the offseason.  In the Cardinals minor league system there is only one guy that catches my eye and its Jose Garcia.  Born in Venezuela, he was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent on March 6, 2006.  Garcia has really improved dramatically this season in Double A.  Stats AVG:.324, HR:4, RBI:36, SB:14.  So he's got speed not much power and a good average.  I'd be shocked if he made the major league roster next season but as of right now he may be the only option for the Cardinals especially since the free agent market will be thin at second base.

3B: David Freese

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    David Freese has had some injury issues the past few years, so if Freese wants to remain the starter for the Cardinals, he needs to stay healthy.  

    The only person in the Cardinals' organization that could threaten Freese is former first-round pick Zack Cox.

     As long as Freese stays healthy ,he will be what the Cardinals need.


    The backup would be Daniel Descalso.

SS: Ryan Theriot

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    Ryan Theriot has one year of arbitration left so I would imagine that the Cardinals will keep him for next season.  

    I'm not a big fan of Theriot, so I'm not sure what the Cardinals will do at SS, which has been a revolving door for the Cardinals since Edgar Renteria was there.


    The backup would be Daniel Descalso.

LF: Matt Holliday

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    Matt Holliday is under contract with the Cardinals until 2016.

    Holliday will be the starter for many years to come. Hollday is under the same situation as Albert Pujols he's gonna be there for awhile so why talk about him.


    The backup will be Allen Craig.

CF: Jon Jay

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    With the Cardinals trading Rasmus to the Blue Jays last month Jay has become the starting center fielder (unless they trade or sign a center fielder which doesn't seem likely). 


    Jay has performed well this season as a starter in spot starts.  So this last half of the season will show whether or not Jay can handle the starting job for next season. 

RF: Lance Berkman

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    There have been some reports that the Cardinals and Berkman have mutual interest in working on a deal for next season. 


    Berkman has made the Cardinals signing him worth it.  Berkman has been far better than anyone has thought he would as he could be an MVP candidate at seasons end. 


    I don't expect Berkman to have another season similar to this one next season but still produce.

C: Yadier Molina

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    Yadier Molina is gonna be the Cardinals everyday starter for awhile.  

    So the catcher position isn't gonna be talked about very long.  

    Yadi hasn't had many injury issues in his career so the Cardinals won't really have to worry about signing a catcher this offseason.  


    The backup will be Tony Cruz.

SP1: Adam Wainwright

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    The Cardinals are hoping that Wainwright comes back next season from Tommy John Surgery with no issues.  

    Wainwright has been one of the top SP in baseball and recent years, and the Cardinals hope that Wainwright picks up right where he left off.

SP2: Jaime Garcia

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    The Cardinals just signed Jaime to a four-year deal with two years of options.  

    In his first two seasons, Jaime has been excellent for the Cardinals.  

    With Jaime behind Wainwright, the Cardinals could have one of the best one-two punches in baseball in a few years.

SP3: Chris Carpenter

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    The Cardinals will more than likely pick up Carpenters option for 2012.  

    Carpenter is climbing up there in age and isn't gonna be pitching in a way that represents what he is getting paid.  

    I believe the Carpenter will be demoted from the second man in the rotation to the third man behind Wainwright and Jaime.

SP4: Kyle Lohse

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    Lohse is entering the final year of a four-year deal.

    Lohse has struggled with injuries through out the 4 year deal. This will be Lohse's final year in St. Louis.

    As long as Lohse stays healthy and pitches decent, he will be what the Cardinals expect him to be as the fourth man in the rotation.

SP5: Jake Westbrook

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    Jake Westbrook has been good and bad for the Cardinals this season in the first year of a 2 year deal that includes an option for 2013.  Westbrook is the only thing keeping Shelby Miller from being in the Cardinals rotation next season.