Saturday, February 27, 2010

What the Lopez Signing Means

Been awhile since the last post, but school takes precedent.

Anyway, the St. Louis Cardinals just signed Felipe Lopez to serve as a utility infielder and possible competition to David Freese at the hot corner. What his signing means might not be a good thing for a couple Cardinals prospects.

Lopez gives the Cardinals a third, guaranteed bench rider (assuming Freese wins the everyday gig at third base). With that in mind, the Cardinals have two infielders (who can play the outfield if needed) and a catcher.

Allen Craig, Tyler Greene, Joe Mather, and Jon Jay...not good news for you.

The Cardinals still need a right handed hitting complement to Colby Rasmus, who will also serve as the fourth outfielder. The team could also use a true backup to Albert Pujols at first base.

This means that the Cardinals should be able to make their decision from one of these two groups for the last bench spot. It will be one or the other, not a mix of either. And barring some freak injury, last minute signing, or ineffectiveness by one of the four, here are your last two bench guys:

Allen Craig and Jon Jay
Joe Mather and Tyler Greene

Here are the reasoning behind this.

Both groups consist of a natural center fielder who can also play both corner outfield spots (Jay and Mather). The other consists of an infield and outfield presence who can handle the stick with some power (Craig and Greene*).

*Yes, Greene has power. He has seven extra base hits in his Major League career, and 160 extra base hits (including 62 home runs) in his Minor League career which stretches across four seasons. That's an average of 40 extra base hits over each season, or 50+ if you count his Minor League career as three full seasons.

Craig would serve as a power hitting bat that plays first base and the corner outfield, along with third base whenever needed. He has incredible power and strength, and would serve as right handed pinch hitter.

Jay, a natural center fielder, can play across the entire outfield. He's a strong fielding outfielder and would serve as a late inning defensive replacement for Ryan Ludwick or Matt Holliday, or the right handed hitting center fielders (Lopez and Julio Lugo). Oh, did I mention he bats from the left side, something few Cardinals can do?

The second group would feature a natural right handed center fielder, meaning Lopez and Lugo would be regulated to infield duties. Mather, who we are talking about, is also a power threat himself and a corner infielder (along with an emergency second baseman).

Greene, strictly an infielder, has played the outfield for Tony La Russa (who hasn't?) and would serve as the natural backup to Brendan Ryan. This would allow Lopez and Lugo to play the positions they are better at (second and third base).

Group 2 would add more depth to the bench and would probably be the best option, but neither would be horrible. Both serve a purpose to the team.

Nothing much I can sign off with here. Hope you enjoyed. That good?

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