Cardinals have tough playoff roster decisions to make

Posted by Scott Wuerz on September 28, 2013 

 

I'm not sure how the Cardinals will decide which of the team's five current starting pitchers will make the postseason rotation. But I think the team needs to take the guy who doesn't start and turn him into the liberally-used long reliever. With so much youth in the rotation, manager Mike Matheny ought to have a quick hook and keep the other side from getting comfortable against any pitcher in particular.

A couple of weeks ago I would have believed that Lance Lynn would have been the odd man out - especially since he has experience working out of the bullpen. But Lynn has been much better recently and his work in the 2011 and 2012 is valuable. I think Matheny will lean towards putting the youngest starter, Michael Wacha, in the bullpen. But, based on Shelby Miller's inability to pitch deep into games because of his high pitch counts, I think he might be a good choice for a guy who could pitch two or three innings here and there to bridge from the starter to the bullpen.

I suspect, unless he is injured, that the Cardinals will keep Edward Mujica on the postseason roster. But it was extremely discouraging that he was smacked around on Saturday by a weak-hitting Cubs team. Right now I have more confidence in rookie Carlos Martinez than I have in Mujica.

On the offensive side of the ball, I think the Redbirds have one roster spot up for grabs. It comes down to Brock Peterson, Kolten Wong or Rob Johnson and that player will fill in for RBI man Allen Craig.

Peterson is a pure first baseman. But he has shown no ability to hit major league pitching at all in his time with the Cardinals this year after several seasons in the minors. Wong, who projects to be a regular in the not to distant future also hasn't hit at all. I think, while he's not much of a slugger, at least Johnson provides the Cardinals with the flexibility to move Yadier Molina to first base in a strategic move or in case Matt Adams would get hurt. With only one backup catcher on the roster the Birds don't have the same flexibility as if they had two. 

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