Spring Training is rapidly approaching. Pitchers and Catchers report in just 8 days. Position players February 23. Ah, the excitement of baseball. Pretty sick video too.
The Cardinals enter Spring Training with a pretty good idea of who will make the opening day roster.
Locks (9): Molina, Berkman, Schumaker, Furcal, Freese, Holliday, Jay, Beltran, Descalso
**Injured: Allen Craig
Right There (2): Tyler Greene, Tony Cruz
Pitchers (13): Wainwright, Carpenter, Lohse, Garcia, Westbrook, Motte, Salas, Lynn, Boggs, Romero, Rzepczynski, McClellan, Sanchez
This module leaves one spot. Obviously injuries play a role in the final 25, and carrying 13 pitchers is too many, but who is the odd man out? Eduardo Sanchez is the youngest, and probably the most viable option. But, he has some electric stuff.
Options: Matt Carpenter, Mark Hamilton, Alex Cora, Shane Robinson, Pete Kozma
The health of Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal will be a huge factor for the offense. Furcal has not played over 100 games since 2009, and Beltran is one year removed from surgery on a troublesome right knee.
The X factor: Tyler Greene. The kid has so much raw talent; speed, defense, bat, arm. But what happens when Greene plays in the majors? Well, not much. He hit .212 in 58 games with the big league club last year, but was a perfect 11/11 stealing bases. If Greene could be the Allen Craig of 2012, that’s huge.
And if he’s not, the Cardinals will need to add a middle infielder for depth.
Did you know? Greene hit .323 with 14 HR and 43 RBI for Memphis last year. Where are those numbers?
Has there ever been a Spring Training with so many questions? New manager, no Pujols, no Duncan. The list goes on and on.
I know this much: between a Blues playoff run and a new Championship flag atop the scoreboard at Busch, things will be exciting in April.
Prepare for takeoff.