While a strong spring wasn't enough to win Cardinals farmhand Matt Carpenter a job on the major league roster in 2011, it looks like the second time will be the charm.
The Birds shipped out Adron Chambers, who made a valuable contribution to the big league club in a late season call up last year, to cut the roster down to 31 Monday. And, with versatile infielder Alex Cora hitting the bricks over the weekend, it looks like Carpenter will be the last man standing.
While he's showed a good bat with a .364 with eight doubles and a homer this spring, I'm afraid the Cardinals will put him in a position where he has very little chance to succeed if they bring him north.
First, he's got a tiny amount of major league experience. He's an .067 hitter in 15 MLB at bats in 2011. So he's not really the sort you'd want to count on to come off the bench as a pinch hitter in a key situation. And, since he only plays the infield corners -- and not especially well -- he's not going to start on a regular basis as long as David Freese and Lance Berkman are healthy.
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I'd like to see Carpenter work on playing second base in the minors this season. He's not going to push Freese out of a job anytime soon. And if Berkman leaves St. Louis after 2012, it's likely to be Matt Adams at first base in the future because Carpenter doesn't have the power one would expect from that position.
If he added second base to his resume Carpenter might find new life as a prospect. Or, worst case scenario, he would solidfy his value as a utility player.