This article is to address a concern that a lot of Cardinals
fans are seeming to pop up with. What do we do with all of this depth?!
Put pretty simply this comes from a very valid concern for us filling our SS position with a usable player. Kozma has been looking like a decent major league SS until you realize that his Major League career is a very small sample size and he has minor league numbers. They aren't pretty. We also have Greg Garcia
but he is no defensive whiz or sure thing. Mix that with great sudden depth at pitching prospect, slugging first basemen and possibly even second base very soon. So hey, let’s get trading!
Let’s stop there for just one minute. Trades are a great thing that can help teams and happen in baseball all the time. They should be done in theory from a surplus to address a need, but they have to be doable and if you want to handle a franchise properly you trade when appropriate and the cost would be palatable. There would be no reason to make a trade until the trade deadline when trades would be cheaper and we could see how well Kozma does in the bigs and Greg Garcia does in AAA over half of a season. You really shouldn't need to make a trade until the offseason as long as we can absorb however good or bad our Ss position is so we can see a whole season on how Kozma does and Garcia in AAA. Now what if Kozma or Garcia is a serviceable SS (not likely but possible) and/or there is no palatable SS trade at the deadline or in the offseason (Likely). This is where I start losing people. There is a huge concern about how we must get rid of Adams or Carpenter or Freese or whomever for the sake of trading them because we have so much depth and we apparently can't fit everyone.
I offer you a solution, and one the Cardinals are already beginning to institute, The Great Adams Rotation, or TGAR. Very simply this offseason Beltran will likely be heading for greener pastures, Oscar Taveras
will likely graduate*, and Kolten Wong
could graduate too (though with Carpenter manning second we don’t have to rush him). Suddenly we have lots of good position players and only 8 positions. This is where a rotation helps. Spot starts can fit starts in for bench guys.
Lets imagine this starting 8:
As noted before on this site we have surprising versatility from our starting lineup. In this case Adams would obviously play on Craig's off days but as now on the off days for Holliday and Taveras with Craig in the OF. Yes Taveras is more durable than Beltran but this still works because just as Craig can slide into LF/RF, Oscar can shift into center, where Beltran used to be excellent but does not have the legs to even be a sub in anymore. Carpenter would take the off days of both Freese and Wong as well as splitting PH with Adams. The other possibility is moving Oscar to starting CF with Jay on the bench, Craig starting RF and Adams starting 1B, but I'm not sure if we are better starting Adams or Jay, it would likely be a push between upgraded defense and OBP vs upgraded power. We also don’t have to rush Wong as I mentioned earlier so we could have the Carpenter-Descalso platoon continue with Wong in AAA and Garcia or Jackson to fill deensive backup infielder or Wigginton still on the bench for some reason (the 25th shouldnt matter that much anyway. Injuries happen, which this prepares us for, and if we do end up with the expected black hole SS we could still trade from strength, though we have plenty of pitching prospects to deal from and SS trades are pretty tough. The only difficult part is that without injuries (and yes, injuries happen) we are demoting Descalso to defensive IF backup (with Robinson as the defensive OF backup and Cruz as the backup catcher) and you may want Garcia or Jackson there in case our starting SS gets hurt for a couple of weeks, but you wouldnt get much for Descalso outside of maybe a decent relief prospect.
I can't help but look at this and, realizing it would take a lot of setbacks to not happen, think it looks realistic and outstanding from top to bottom of the lineup and bench. That makes me very happy and want to stand pat, which we will likely do.
*I am likely giving Mozeliak too much credit with this thought considering taht he was signed in the first place and Mo does have a designated "Why did you sign him?!" guy every offseason, but, I think Wigginton was signed to be the guy cut to make room for OT this year or Wong next year whenever they are ready to graduate and whomever they are called up to replace comes off of the DL.