St. Louis Cardinals Heading for Big City Traffic Jam

By Sara Lefebvre
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals‘ rookie slugger Matt “Big City” Adams has been playing first base regularly since Allen Craig‘s injury on September 4, and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity to show his stuff. He’s hit five home runs in that span, two in an important extra-inning game against the division rival Cincinnati Reds.

What will the Cardinals do with Adams when Craig is ready to return to the lineup?

Adams can only play first base. He has proven surprisingly agile and effective there, despite the size that may have earned him his nickname. The Cardinals have no more inter-league games in the regular season, so if they want him in the lineup, first base is where he’ll be.

If Craig returns during the regular season, he’ll have to go to the outfield, but where? Center field is out. Craig is good at the corners, and has actually said that he prefers to play the outfield over first base, but he doesn’t have the range or experience for center.

That means Matt Holliday or Carlos Beltran must sit. The Cardinals have managed Beltran’s playing time this season very well, hoping that his knees can hold up with periodic rest. So right field is possible. But if Beltran feels good and is hitting well, and the Cardinals are still fighting to win the division, the team should sit Holliday.

Holliday has really improved his play in left field, but Beltran is a better outfielder. Holliday leads the majors in hitting into double plays. He sometimes has very poor plate discipline. He struck out four times in a recent game against the Reds chasing pitches low and away. He can hit the long ball and change games, but that doesn’t seem to happen as much in key situations.

Craig might return for the last homestand of this season. Adams needs to stay in the lineup, and the Cardinals should sit Holliday. Either way, the future of this traffic jam should be very interesting.

Sara Lefebvre is a St Louis Cardinals writer for Follow her on Google.

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