Latest News

Here's what the Cardinals' roster looks like as they prepare to break camp

Marcell Ozuna gets ready to take the field during a spring training game in Jupiter, Florida.
Marcell Ozuna gets ready to take the field during a spring training game in Jupiter, Florida. snagy@bnd.com

A roster constructed with a lot of interchangeable parts is coming together for the St. Louis Cardinals 2018 season opener Thursday in New York.

The team reduced its roster by three on Friday, giving a final spot on the bench to versatile Yairo Munoz, who was acquired from Oakland in the Stephen Piscotty trade, ahead of Harrison Bader, the team's minor league player of the year in 2017.

The last thing to be decided was the eighth spot in the bullpen, which went to Mike Mayers, a 2013 third-round pick of the Cardinals who has had an impressive spring.

The roster does not account for the likely May 1 return of pitcher Alex Reyes or minor injuries to pitcher Luke Gregerson, who may have to start the season on the disabled list.

Here's what the Cardinals' likely opening day roster:

INFIELD

13 - Matt Carpenter, 1b

Back tightness slowed him down in the spring. Look for his return to the leadoff spot and to first base, where he'll get frequent relief from Jose Martinez. Batted .241 in 2017 but had an on-base of .384 and 23 home runs.

16 - Kolten Wong, 2b

Moved down in the order and had the best season of his career both offensively and defensively. His .285 average, 41 walks and .376 OBP were career highs and his 10 errors were a career low. Second base is his job for keeps.

11 - Paul DeJong, ss

He was runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year in 2017, and his new six-year, $26 million contract is the richest ever for a player with less than a full year in the big leagues. His 25 home runs in 443 at-bats led the team.

3 - Jedd Gyorko, 3b

He's the incumbent starter at third base after taking the position over in 2017. He had the National League's ninth best defensive WAR at any position last year in addition to posting career highs in batting average (.272), RBIs (67), on-base percentage (.341) and OPS (.813)

OUTFIELD

23 - Marcell Ozuna, lf

Acquired for prospects in trade with Miami Marlins. His break-out season included both a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in left field. He's expected to generate the middle-of-the-lineup power the lineup lacked last year. Hit 37 home runs with 124 RBIs to go with a .312 average.

28 - Tommy Pham, cf

The 29-year-old didn't make the trip north from spring training last season, but after overcoming years of injury and other set backs, ended up the Cardinals MVP with a breakout season. He'll shift to center field and bat third in the lineup. Batted .306 with 23 home runs and 95. His OPS was .931.

25 - Dexter Fowler, rf

He batted close to career averages in 2017, but delivered more power than anticipated with 18 home runs, 22 doubles and nine triples. Fowler accepted a shift to right field to accommodate Pham's ascendance and the acquisition of Ozuna. Look for him to bat second in the order.

CATCHERS

4 - Yadier Molina, c

Will begin a new three-year contract, which the eight-time All-Star says will be his last. Despite persistent questions about his durability playing a demanding position at an advancing age, Molina continued to produce offensively with 18 home runs and a career-best 82 RBIs. With the added power Ozuna brings and the emergence of both Pham and DeJong, however, expect Molina to assume a spot lower in the batting order.

46 - Francisco Pena, c

The non-roster invitee to Cardinals spring camp brings enough major league experience that the club decided to send prospect Carson Kelly back to Memphis where he can play every day. In 57 big league at bats between Baltimore and Kansas City, the son of former Cardinals' catcher Tony Pena has a .246 average and there home runs.

BENCH

58 - Jose Martinez, 1b/of

A rookie at age 28, he provided valuable depth in the outfield and at first base. He was effective against left-handers in a first-base platoon with Carpenter and, overall, batted .309 with 14 home runs in 307 at-bats.

35 - Greg Garcia, inf

He's listed second on the Cardinals' depth chart at three positions — shortstop, second base and third base. In 98 career pinch-hit at-bats, he hits .286 with a .418 on-base percentage.

62 - Yairo Munoz, inf/of

Munoz, 23, came to the Cardinals in a trade that sent outfielder Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics. Munoz is a middle infielder by trade, but played six positions during an outstanding spring in which he hit .375 with a .423 on-base percentage. That was enough to give him a spot on the roster instead of Harrison Bader. Munoz split time last year between double-A Midland, of the Texas League, and triple-A Nashville, of the Pacific Coast League, batting a combined .300 with 13 home runs with 68 RBIs. He also stole 22 bases.

ROTATION

18 - Carlos Martinez, rhp

The 26-year-old staff ace has been tabbed the Opening Day starter for the second year n a row. His ERA in 2017 (3.64) was slightly up from the previous two seasons while his 12 wins were the fewest since 2014. But, he set career high with 205 innings pitched and 217 strikeouts.

36 - Miles Mikolas, rhp

After a successful run in Japan, he's back in the U.S. on two-year deal with the Cardinals. Three seasons with the Yomiuri Giants produced a 31-13 record and 2.18 ERA. Cardinals' executive John Mozeliak says the 29-year-old is a lock for the rotation in 2018.

52 - Michael Wacha, rhp

The former No. 1 draft pick battled elbow trouble, but bounced back with 12 wins and 165.2 innings in 2017. Was an all-star in 2015 when he went 17-7.

50- Adam Wainwright, rhp

Two years removed from an Achilles tear, the former staff ace hopes for a comeback season. He was 12-5 last year, but his 5.11 ERA was the highest of his 12-year career.

7 - Luke Weaver, rhp

A former first-round pick out of Florida State, he was a Baseball America Top 100 prospect in 2016. In 60.1 big league innings last season, he was 7-2 with a 3.88 ERA.

BULLPEN

44 - Luke Gregerson, rhp

A free agent from the Astros, Gregerson remains on the team's depth chart as the closer. He saved 31 games in 2015, 15 more in 2016 and just one in 61 innings last year. The ninth-inning role is his to lose, but there are other options as well. For his career, Gregerson has a 3.02 ERA, all of his 623 appearances coming out of the bullpen.

70 - Tyler Lyons, lhp

Once a rotation candidate, the 30-year-old has been a left-handed mainstay out of the Cardinals bullpen the last two seasons. He went 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA and picked up the first three saves of his career.

55 - Dominic Leone, rhp

Acquired from Toronto in the Randal Grichuck trade, Leone has been an effective reliever when healthy. In 2017, he pitched 70.1 innings in 65 game appearances last year — both career bests — with a 3-0 record and 2.56 ERA. He also struck out 81 batters.

27 - Brett Cecil, lhp

The left-hander struggled early under the weight of expectation since signing a four-year, $30.5 million free agent contract. He finished respectably, however, with a 3.88 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched.

67 - Matt Bowman, rhp

Has averaged 68 appearances over the last two seasons. He finished last season 3-6 with a 3.99 ERA.

26 - Bud Norris, rhp

His one-year, $3 million contract gives the Cardinals some protection both in the rotation and bullpen. Norris recorded the first 13 saves of his career before the All-Star break last season. Knee inflammation limited him in the second half, however.

64 - Sam Tuivailala, rhp

He's worn a path on I-55 between St. Louis and Memphis the past four seasons, but he had a career year in 2017 with a 2.55 ERA in 42.1 innings pitched. He also struck out 34 batters.

59 - Mike Mayers, rhp

A third-round pick out of Mississippi in 2013, the 26-year-old has made a strong case for himself this spring. In his first seven innings spread across three appearances, he gave up just two hits and no earned runs while striking out nine and walking none. Previous big league appearances have not gone well. In seven games, he's 1-1 with a 19.80 ERA.

  Comments