Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jupiter Battle

There have been many battles in history. Many will name Bull Run, both times, right off the bat. Midway is normally right after.

The one many forget: Jupiter.

There is a battle that is about to take place in Jupiter, Florida. And this battle may have big ramifications.

The St. Louis Cardinals currently have two players (Julio Lugo and Jason LaRue) on their bench. They have David Freese and Freese alone at third base.

Not good.

As of right now, the only competition for Freese at the hot corner is himself. Allen Craig could make a push, but a utility role on the bench is more likely.

Joe Mather and Tyler Greene will also be pushing for utility roles, and the one thing on their resume (prior Major League experience) probably hurts them more than it helps them. Mostly because neither had a great showing in their brief stints.

Mather, of course, has put himself in the doghouse by running his mouth today. He wants to be in St. Louis or traded elsewhere.

The problem is that Mather, who has Major League experience in all three outfield spots and at first (plus third base in the Minors), has proven nothing at the Major League level. Most likely only San Diego and Cleveland (a long shot) would have interest in Mather.

Not a smart idea for Mather to run his mouth and he will likely not make the squad and follow his good, motormouth buddy Mark Worrell out of town.

Greene show his versatility by playing almost the entire infield and center field, but also showed that his bat still needs improvement. If he has worked hard in the offseason, he could easily make this squad.

Allen Craig, barring some unforeseen circumstance, will like make the team as a 1B/3B/LF/RF player. He isn't much with the glove, but that has never stopped the Cardinals from employing someone (i.e. Chris Duncan). "Have bat, will travel" applies to Craig. The man can flat out hit.

If you assume Craig has a job, that leaves the team with a need for two players. Likely another infielder and a natural center fielder that hits from the right side.

I have continually suggested Rocco Baldelli for the outfield job. He is a solid hitter who has experience at all three outfield spots (he was a center fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays) and bats right handed.

Oh, and he's better than Mather.

That would fill the bench with LaRue, Lugo, Craig, Baldelli, and Greene...

Oh, you noticed that the bench has no left handed hitter too?

This will be the one baffling thing for the Cardinals. The team could easily drop Greene (who will make this roster unless some outside addition comes on board) for Jon Jay, another natural center fielder.

Jay bats from the left side, plays all three outfield spots, and is just a good player.

That would also leave Lugo as the team's primary backup at 2B and SS.

See the problems here? There really is no good way to make this roster to fill every need, which is: another middle infielder, a left handed bat (power is preferable) that can play third base and another position, and a right handed center fielder.

The options remaining on the free agent market and in the system does not fill those needs unless creativity is taken.

Hank Blalock and Baldelli fill the needs.

No matter the outcome, this should be a fun spring training in Jupiter. Between the very publicized fifth starter competition to the bench problem, this spring will be filled with cannon fire.

Let's hope Darwin's survival of the fittest theory holds true.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Slander/Libel has no place here. Keep it clean and keep it civil. No profanity.