Heading into the 2021 season there were a few storylines we had been following awaiting a conclusion. With the season set to kick off in just a few days, we have our answers. Skyricesq has an in-depth breakdown laid out for your reading pleasure. I am just going to go through the quick hits here.
The rotation was a big source of concern and the Cardinals really did not do much to address it. Then Miles Mikolas suffered his injury and really shown a light on weakness of the Cardinals rotation. Here are the final five starters Mike Shildt has decided on and the rotation order:
Another loose end to tie up was the possibility of seeing Matt Carpenter at second base. This has not been ruled out in the future, but it appears that at present Carpenter will come off the bench. As for the designated hitter, Major League Baseball will not maintain the Universal DH or expanded playoffs that had been implemented in 2020 for the 2021 season. Per the Los Angeles Times:
“We tried multiple times to make an agreement with the Players Association on the DH without success, and it would be unfair to clubs who have already set their rosters for the 2021 season to change the playing rules this close to opening day.”
Or at least that is how is looks right now. Per Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Still, no one should be surprised if something changes at the last minute. NL teams seem to be torn. Some look like they are preparing for a season with no DH. Others look like they are still waiting on it. By the start of Saturday’s Grapefruit League game between the Marlins and the Cardinals, only nine pitchers in either the Grapefruit League or the Cactus League had four at-bats this spring. The Cardinals were the only Grapefruit League team with pitchers who had more than three.
Whether Matt Carpenter would slide in at DH remains to be seen, but the Cardinals have likely set their rosters so that they are prepared for some last minute rule-additions.
In case there was any doubt, Shildt just said Tommy Edman will start at 2B on opening day for the #stlcards and Matt Carpenter will come off the bench.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) March 28, 2021
Jordan Hicks made his return to the mound after nearly two years. He will be in the Cardinals bullpen to start the season.
#stlcards opening day roster will indeed be out today. Not a surprise, but another official nugget: Jordan Hicks is on it.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) March 28, 2021
With the injury to Bader a big question remained in the outfield without a “true” centerfielder. The Cardinals chose to go with John Nogowski, a first baseman, and stick with Dylan Carlson in center with Gold Glover Tyler O’Neill as a possible backup.
Shildt says #STLCards roster announcement is coming but confirms John Nogowski has made the the team going into the season.— Rob Rains (@RobRains) March 28, 2021
And with that the Opening Day roster is set! We are almost there!
We have made the following roster moves: pic.twitter.com/49yJog3La7— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 28, 2021
what else is going on in baseball...
Willians Astudillo out here literally picking Xander Bogaert’s pocket pic.twitter.com/TwwTyQK2ao— Michael Clair (@michaelsclair) March 28, 2021
what the cardinals are up to...
#Cardinals may be getting vaccines as early as tonight, Mozeliak says. They are getting J&J and trying to do it today in Cincinnati so they have a few days between the vaccine and opening day. They are prioritizing the traveling party. More @stltoday #MLB— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) March 29, 2021