The Cardinals really needed the All-Star break; they looked extremely tired and disoriented in this past weekend’s games. The Cardinals start the second half of the season in first place by just 2 ½ games. A 3-5 road trip, culminating with 2 ugly losses to the Pirates right before the All-Star break, contributed to the narrowing of the gap in the standings between the Cards and the Pirates. There’s plenty of baseball left to play, however, so here are my thoughts about the second half of the season.
Matt Holliday returns to the lineup on Friday. This will create quite a traffic jam in the outfield. There are 3 outfield positions, and there are 6 outfielders on the roster. Even using “new” math (or Common Core math), that doesn’t compute. Adjustments will have to be made.
Holliday is signed through 2016 with an option year for 2017. Heyward is signed through the end of the year, at which time he will become a free agent. Jon Jay is currently on the disabled list. Per the Cardinals’ website, his date of return is to be determined. So that leaves 3 players competing for the center field position.
The Cards can’t keep all the extra outfield players on the roster. There have been folks clamoring that Jay be released or traded. Bourjos, despite his occasional flubs, has proven he can be an everyday player. I would trade or release Jay, start Bourjos in at CF, then keep Grichuk and Pham on the bench to spell the starting outfielders in case of injury or a needed day off. Grichuk could also be a good pinch hitter. If Heyward doesn’t sign with the Cards next season, I would then put Grichuk in RF.
Trevor Rosenthal didn’t pitch in the All-Star Game due to arm soreness. He did not look very good on the mound in Sunday’s game. I would not be surprised if he landed on the DL. Should the break help his arm feel better and if I were Mike, I would only use Rosey in a true save situation and not pitch him if the game isn’t on the line. The Cards will need Rosey fresh come September and (hopefully) October.
I am really starting to like scrappy Mark Reynolds, but he is not an everyday 1B and he wasn’t signed to be the everyday 1B. Xavier Scruggs wasn’t the answer to the Cards’ first base woes; he is already back in Memphis. Dan Johnson isn’t the answer either. Stephen Piscotty is touted as the next first baseman; however, he is still learning the position at Memphis. Since Adams isn’t due to be off the DL until the season is almost over, Mo may have to pick up or trade for a 1B player, even if it is just a rental until after the season is over.
I have really missed Cardinals baseball and I’m glad that it starts up again tomorrow night. Today is the 70th anniversary of Red Schoendiest’s debut in baseball. The Cardinals have encouraged fans to post a congratulatory video on social media. I posted it on Twitter, and in case you missed it, here it is:
Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!