5 Players Who Won’t Make St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day Roster
5 St. Louis Cardinals Players Who Won't Make Opening Day Roster
The St. Louis Cardinals were the best team in the National League in 2013. Not only did they represent the NL in the World Series, but they clearly had the best team. It certainly wasn't a fluke that the Cards were one of the last two teams standing.
Now that 2014 Spring Training is underway, the seven-month journey has officially started for the Cards. The team will look to finish the job in 2014, by getting to the World Series and winning it this time. The Cardinals already have 11 World Series championships, and while fans of other teams would like them to share the wealth, the Cards have no desire to share.
They proved their commitment to winning by filling virtually every hole on the roster this past offseason. The Cardinals had two weaknesses last season: shortstop and center field. By weaknesses, I mean less-than-great players. Seriously, even the Cardinals' weakest positions had good things going for them. For instance, at shortstop, Pete Kozma was a putrid offensive player, but he was very good defensively. Jon Jay, the center fielder, was a bad defensive outfielder, but he was slightly above average on offense.
The Cardinals are, in my opinion, the most well-run MLB organization. They are blessed with an outstanding farm system, smart management and very competitive financial resources. Even though the Cards can afford to fill needs externally, they usually don't have to because they have internal replacements ready to take over at any moment.
Due to the organization having so much talent, there are always going to be roster snubs and intense Spring Training competitions. Unfortunately for some of these players, the team can only carry 25 players at a time on their MLB roster, so not everyone can make the team.
One of the top prospects in baseball, Oscar Taveras is close to reaching MLB. However, he is coming off of an injury-shortened season and there doesn't appear to be much room in the Cardinals' outfield for him at the moment.
With newest addition Peter Bourjos patrolling center field and Matt Holliday in left field, the only open job is in right field. The Cardinals will probably go with Jon Jay in right to start the season, and they won't want to bring Taveras north out of camp to be a backup, as he won't get consistent plate appearances. Expect Shane Robinson to be the fourth outfielder to begin the season. Taveras has a career .320/.377/.518 triple-slash line in five minor league seasons.
Purely based on his not being healthy yet, Jaime Garcia will most likely not begin the season on the 25-man roster for the Cardinals. When healthy, Garcia is certainly an effective pitcher, as he has a career 3.45 ERA and 3.38 FIP in 551 innings.
Like Garcia, Jason Motte is talented enough to make the 25-man roster, but he won't be ready for Opening Day. Motte had Tommy John Surgery nearly 10 months ago and the recovery process isn't over for him yet. In 260 career innings, Motte has a 2.87 ERA with 9.45 K/9.
A defensive wiz, Kozma couldn't hit a baseball the size of a beach ball. Now that the Cardinals have signed Jhonny Peralta to be the everyday shortstop, Kozma doesn't have much roster security. Due to Daniel Descalso being able to play all the infield positions, I'd expect the Cardinals value his versatility more than Kozma.
In just 53 innings last seasons, Tyler Lyons was decent for the Cardinals. He had a FIP of just 3.73 in his rookie campaign, but the Cardinals' pitching staff is just too deep for Lyons to be able to grab a spot on the 25-man roster.