The St. Louis Cardinals currently sit at 23-21 entering play on Tuesday, May 20th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They'll have 3 home games against the D'Backs before going to Cincinnati for 3. Then, there are at home for 3 against the Yanks, 4 against the Giants, and 2 against Kansas City. What I really want to talk about are the 7 games that immediately follow the 9 game home stand.
From Wednesday, June 4th (I'm going to that game here in KC!) to Wednesday, June 11th (7 games over 8 days) the Cardinals play on the road against Kansas City (2), Toronto (3), and Tampa Bay (2). The Cardinals will only use the DH 3 more times (in August) after those 7 games. That's right - only 10 games against AL teams on the road this year for El Birdos.
After talking it over with my father, my theory is that (should no pitchers go down with injuries between now and then) the Cardinals will call up a powerful outfield bat (read: Taveras or Grichuk or Piscotty) to play in the outfield and give Holliday, Adams, and Craig time at DH to "rest" a bit. This would be a stellar idea that would require a corresponding 40-man roster move. The Cardinals are currently sitting at exactly 40 men on their 40 man roster. They have 3 on the DL, but the 15-day variety. The obvious move would be to move Kelly or Lyons to the 60-day DL if the Cardinals know by that point that either would not return before 60 days (from their placement onto the DL) is up.
If both are close to getting back, it makes things a bit harder. Keith Butler was not great in his time in the majors this year. In fact, he was horrible. However, he was okay at the end of the 2013 season (not great) and is only 25 with a very good minor league track record - 62 saves in 136 games finished and a 1.12 WHIP, 3.18 K:BB, and 2.22 ERA. Similarly, Eric Fornataro didn't light the world on fire in his call up, but he was serviceable. He is only 26 years old, but does not quite have the track record of Keith Butler. Jorge Rondon has yet to be brought up to the majors, is 26, and has not been nearly as good as the other two. He's my pick if they get rid of a pitcher.
It's not good practice to just give up decent catchers, but I don't see a future for Audry Perez in St. Louis. If they like his glove enough to help improve pitchers at AAA, then there's no reason to drop him. I keep him. There are no potential infielders to drop. As far as the outfield goes, Rafael Ortega has seen the majors before in Colorado two seasons ago, but is currently among the glut of outfielders in the system and is not close to having the best year out of them (out of the top 6-8 for sure) despite being a 23 year old at AA (slightly below league average age).
One other interesting idea is that the recent Joey Butler call up is an effort to see if he is going to play any part in the Cardinals' plans in the next 18 months or so. If he comes up and hits, then he won't be the one cut, for sure. However, if he looks like he has in his first 6 plate appearances for the entire time until June 4th, I could see the Cardinals holding on to all of their arms - even Jorge Rondon - and dropping Joey Butler off of the 40-man and allowing him to pass waivers to get back to Memphis. That would 1) allow him to be taken, and 2) if he is taken, allow other outfielders like James Ramsey or Mike O'Neill (or both) to move up to Memphis and continue their development there.
My last food for thought...if Joey Butler decides to show he can hit major league pitching, does that make Shane Robinson available on waivers instead of Butler?