Let us all take trip back to around this time a year ago. Jose Martinez was playing terrific baseball in Spring Training, seemingly out of no where (though our very own Josey Curtis had always been high on him). It seemed he was destined to make the roster in 2017. Martinez did make the roster of course, but it happened at a cost: sending Tommy Pham to AAA Memphis.
See, there was no room on the roster for both Pham and Martinez. After the eight starters, the Cardinals were left with four spots on the bench for position players. One spot was filled by the backup catcher. One spot went to Matt Adams, the Cardinals “big left-handed bat”. One of the spots needed to go to a backup infielder, so Greg Garcia earned that spot. This left one remaining.
The Cardinals chose Martinez. It was not a bad choice - Martinez played really well. The problem was and is that it was a choice the Cardinals never actually needed to make. There was a way both Pham and Martinez could have made the team. The Cardinals insistence on carrying thirteen pitchers, something most teams do not do, limited the number of position players the team could carry. So to Memphis Pham went.
You might remember that after he came back up Tommy Pham went on to be the most valuable player on the team in 2017.
History could be repeating itself in 2018. Not with Tommy Pham, as he appears to have cemented his place on the big league roster. This year the odd man out might be Yairo Munoz. The infielder is having a fantastic spring, but it seems likely he will lose out to Harrison Bader for a roster spot as the Cardinals are looking for another outfielder. Of course, if the Cardinals did not intend to carry thirteen pitchers, there would be room for both.
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