January 9, 2010

Who's on 3rd and other Cards question marks

As the Cards develop a modern-day Murderer's Row with the likes of Pujols/Holliday/Ludwick/(McGwire?), there are a few uncertainties in the roster as Spring Training gets closer.

Worries over a fifth starter won't make the top of the list, as most teams are worrying over their third starter. The setting of a starting rotation is an annual part of every team's pre-season predicaments. Boggs may have a legit shot this time around.

For the Cards, an extra outfielder is something that can be addressed. If you want a lefty in the outfield wings, wait and see if Jon Jay has developed before you make a move.

Bullpen? That's another never ending dilemma for every team as well. (Similar to last season, you may see Kyle McClellan working out as a starter when Spring Training begins. This time around, however, it won't be nearly as long before he's back in the set-up role. My eye is on Hawksworth to show well and out of the corner of my eye, Francisco Samuel.

Filling in the hot corner is quite another matter. It's sort of a toss-up at the moment about whether to go after established talent or allow, let's say, Freese, to give it a go. It would nice to wait until Spring Training tells us how much guys like Freese and T. Greene, for instance, have improved, but there may not be enough time. Other teams in the same hot-corner market can easily see this infield need of the Cardinals and may take a shot at securing what's available for third base before Spring Training yields any results.

Joe Crede is one my fave picks here at third, but that must be tempered with his ongoing injury issues. Tejada will cost too much for his by-gone potential, but would be acceptable if he landed in the Lou. More to my liking would be Felipe Lopez, who I felt the Cards never should have let go in the first place. If the Cards were going to blow their remaining stash, I'd go Lopez, who has shown surprisingly good third base skills.

Of course, Lopez is more a second basemen, but he could shift over to spell Schumaker from time to time, and between the both of them, solve for the the extra lefthanded bat that can play outfield. This puzzle, therefore, solves in a variety of ways.

Let the hot stove burn on in Cardinal Nation.