I'm befuddled to this point about the Cardinals' roster intentions because they're spending a lot of playing time on guys I don't see as realistic options.
Take Shane Robinson for example. Do the Cardinals really need another light-hitting outfielder? Robinson is 5-foot-9 and weighs 160 pounds and he's 27 years old -- pretty well beyond prospect status -- with a .188 batting average in 20 major league at bats over two stints.
So this is just a guess about how things will look when the Birds break camp:
Starting rotation: Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia (the only lefty), Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn.
The St. Louis rotation looks a lot less dominating and a lot more adequate with the subtraction of Chris Carpenter due to neck problems. Hopefully the results of the testing he is going through in St. Louis will have a positive result. But does anybody ever go through three days of medical testing for a minor issue? Carpenter seems certain to start the season on the disabled list either way. But how long he'll be there is the question.
Bullpen: Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Kyle McClellan, Fernando Salas, Scott Linebrink and left-handers Marc Rzepczynski and JC Romero.
At least a couple of guys who deserve a shot at the major league bullpen are going to the minors because of an abundance of bullpen power arms. I'm guessing that group will include Eduardo Sanchez and Victor Marte who have both pitched very well in Grapefruit League. But they're young and they have options. So they'll be the ones to go. Unless ... the Cardinals trade McClellan or Boggs or if they decide that McClellan is good enough against lefties that they can afford to cut Romero and go with only one southpaw, Rzepczysnski, in the pen. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the Birds deal a reliever or two for a solid, righty hitting reserve infielder.
Starting lineup: C-Yadier Molina, 1B-Lance Berkman (switch hitter), 2B-Tyler Greene, 3B-David Freese, SS-Rafael Furcal (switch hitter), LF-Matt Holliday, CF-Jon Jay (bats left), RF-Carlos Beltran (switch hitter).
Tyler Greene has showed plenty of leather, plenty of speed and enough pop in his bat to earn the staring second baseman nod. Especially with Skip Schumaker out indefinitely with a torn ribcage muscle.
Bench: OF, 1B-Allen Craig; C, 1B, OF-Tony Cruz; OF-Erik Komatsu (bats left), IF-Daniel Descalso (bats left), IF Alex Cora.
I'm really uncertain about that last roster spot. But I think it goes to Cora because he can play all four infield positions. He's not much of a hitter. But at least by keeping him the team is more free to liberally use Descalso who is the only backup shortstop and second baseman and the best defensive third baseman on the roster who isn't already in the starting lineup.
If Craig isn't ready to go, Matt Carpenter could get a look. But I think he is better off playing every day in Class AAA Memphis after a rough 2011.