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"I don't know!" "Third base!"

Well, I guess now it's time to see how the Cardinals' vaunted third base depth really looks. 

Glaus's injury comes as a big surprise, even though he's Troy Glaus—I haven't seen any season prediction that does less than count on him to play the full season he did last year, even though he came to St. Louis with a reputation of being made out of breakaway movie glass. But now he's going to miss approximately one Injured-Cardinal-Month, which could be anywhere from twenty-one hours to one Mark Mulder Unit. 

What is that going to look like? Well, let's be blunt about it—here's one sixth of his ZiPS projection, and one sixth of David Freese's. Extrapolated Runs is just an all-purpose offensive stat, like runs created only easier to calculate in Excel. (Rounding accounts for the weird averages; XR calculation was done with the messy, unrounded numbers, for what it's worth.)

Glaus 27 95 13 25 5 0 4 15 15 20 .258 .359 .451 16
Freese 27 104 14 28 6 0 4 15 8 20 .265 .320 .420 14

Two runs seems low to me, for the seven walks and the lower slugging percentage, but I couldn't find the error in my math, and runs created produced the same result; in any case, it shows, more or less, what you would expect: if any half-decent player on this Cardinals team is going to be sidelined for a month without torpedoing the Cardinals' chances, it's Troy Glaus. 

Meanwhile, poor Allen Craig; the guy ahead of you on the depth chart gets injured the year after you put up an .867 OPS on the Texas League and the local paper won't even put you ahead of Joes Thurston and Mather on the depth chart. I haven't seen Craig play defense, so his supposedly shaky glove is all hearsay to me, but there's something about his hitting numbers thus far that I like a lot. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ends up a nice, cheap right field option next to Colby Rasmus in a few years. 

Speaking of which: I'd love to get Joe Mather's bat in the lineup, but not if his glove didn't allow him to stick at third as a Palm Beach Cardinal. This whole converting outfielders back to the infield thing is a lot of fun, but I have a feeling it'll be gone, as a storyline, by February, when the outfielders actually start playing the infield. 

As for the external candidate... well, Craig Counsell is a real defensive whiz—his career UZR/150 at third is 20.2, and he can play the rest of the infield positions with equal skill—and he managed a .355 OBP last year. He'd make a great Aaron Miles substitute, and given his playing style he'd probably become an instant Made La Russa Man. But as a hitter he looks just about wiped out; over the last two years he's failed to crack a .310 slugging percentage, and he's now a 38-year-old backup middle infielder. 

And now, mid-entry, Rosenthal is reporting the Brewers have resigned him. Good on them. As a pick-up expressly to replace Aaron Miles and his stand-at-defensive-position antics it might have added a few runs to this Cardinals team, but I'd hate to have Counsell go into the season as the starter at third; if Glaus has a set-back, I could have seen Counsell, heretofore the stop-gap, noodling his way into the Abraham Nuñez role and starting at third all year, while Freese hits home runs off the bench.