After Chris Carpenter, What's left to kind-of-surprise the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals?

Christian Petersen

The St. Louis Cardinals' Febrary surprise has come and gone, giving us one brutal revision to make in the offseason plans. What's next?

One easy way to understand just how naturally we discount pitchers' health in 2013: Imagine the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation if Chris Carpenter hadn't had the fifth ostensibly season-ending injury of his career. The Cardinals' rotation was so overstuffed, on paper, that they had to act like Lance Lynn's job wasn't even a little secure after he struck out 180 batters in 176 innings.

That's the kind of legal fiction that keeps us from having to say, "We have all these pitchers because we expect one or two of them to miss several months with some injury none of us had any idea about." Which makes me feel better, and probably the pitchers, too.

In any case: It happened. Provided Jaime Garcia is healthy, the Cardinals will have one spot open for Shelby Miller, even without deciding Lance Lynn is a relief pitcher.

This sort of thing is impossible to avoid: Part of contingency planning in sports—of building depth—is pretending you aren't going to need it, so that you can keep accumulating more of it. Carpenter's exit wipes out one of them; here's two more that will join us in Spring Training.

Daniel Descalso is the starting second baseman

Daniel Descalso is the starting second baseman because the Cardinals have been incredibly careful to avoid signing any players who threaten Daniel Descalso at the position. I'm not going to discount the possibility that we're just going stir-crazy in an offseason defined by Ty Wigginton and Ronny Cedeno, but I'm really interested to see how the Cardinals treat Kolten Wong over the next month.

I'm also not going to discount the possibility that the Cardinals are just going stir-crazy in the offseason, but Matt Carpenter. That's a thing that hasn't stopped happening yet.

Pete Kozma has a defined role on this team

Assuming 12 pitchers, this is what the Cardinals' roster could look like on Opening Day:

Catchers: Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz

Infielders: Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, David Freese, Rafael Furcal, Ronny Cedeno, Matt Carpenter

Outfielders: Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Fast Guy Who Can't Hit

Wigginton: Ty Wigginton

To be fair, this isn't one the Cardinals have been talking much about—it's just the beginning of a conversation I find myself having a lot among people who don't spend a lot of their free time reading Cardinals blogs. In that extremely large demographic, the weird thing about the Ronny Cedeno deal wasn't how underwhelming it was, given the usage the Cardinals figure to get out of their second-best shortstop, but how they signed somebody to be their second-best shortstop when they also had Pete Kozma.

Provided Kozma doesn't make the team, the Cardinals will find themselves with an extremely crowded middle infield in Memphis—Wong and Kozma and their later-round shadows, Greg Garcia and Ryan Jackson. Pity poor Jake Lemmerman: He found himself traded straight-up for the Cardinals' veteran starting second baseman and all he got was this lousy farm-system positioning.

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