The Smoky Room: Postseason Roster and Rotation

With some sort of postseason appearance all but assured by the Cardinals, a few of The Cardinal Conclave’s writers bandied about what they wanted to see in the makeup of the postseason roster and the rotation.

Josh: While I originally thought Adron Chambers may have the inside track over Kolten Wong for pinch running, I feel the injury to Allen Craig makes the forgotten men even more important. Chambers can provide insurance defensively, and that opens up a potential spot for…gasp…Ryan Jackson. Daniel Descalso will get more of a look on the left side, and Mike Matheny will prefer to keep another RH bat on the bench. To me the real key is whether or not they keep the three catchers past September,

The pitching staff in theory should be easier to put together, but the addition of John Axford gives the Cards the needed ‘veteran’ arm to keep Fernando Salas far away. Jake Westbrook may end up knocking Tyler Lyons or Carlos Martinez off the initial roster, but we won’t know that until the final series of the season. The last road trip will clear up a lot of the confusion in my opinion, but I expect the final roster decision will come down to either a third lefty (Lyons or Freeman) or the necessary long man. Since Keith Butler was not recalled, my best guess is that Martinez gets the nod with Westy as the emergency back-up.

Why do they only have 25 spots, playoff rosters should be expanded!!!

Daniel: Even with the injury to Craig, Ryan Jackson has gotten a whopping three AB since he was called up and has been in two other games without getting to the plate.  I will bet all of my hard-earned internet money that Jackson won’t be on the postseason roster.

I’m personally leaning to the balance of the roster being tilted to pitchers.  You have your starters, Adams (assuming a healthy Craig), Cruz, Robinson, Descalso.  That’s 12.  While having Wong or Chambers speed on the roster might be a nice thing, I don’t know if it’s worth bumping an extra arm out of the mix, especially when you have so many good ones and the potential for needing them.
Let’s say the rotation is Wainwright, Miller, Lynn and Kelly.  That assumes we see more of what we saw last time out of Lynn, something that may be confirmed or denied by tonight’s game. (Ed. note: this was written before Lynn’s outing against the Rockies.)  I like what Wacha has done, but I think the club also likes him as a reliever.  You have Wacha and Lyons for long work or specific matchups, Siegrist, Rosenthal and Mujica for the end of games, Choate as your LOOGY.  Figure Axford and Martinez come in for the right side flamethrowing.
It well may come down to Martinez versus Wong/Chambers if Craig is healthy, depending on how you want to tip the scales.

Jim: Boy this isn’t an easy task, and it certainly begs the question of why expand the rosters only to shrink them? Either way, if the Cardinals choose to keep 12 pitchers and 13 position players, here’s who I’d take:Pitchers (12):

Starting rotation is Waino, Kelly, Lynn and Miller. Miller deserves the third spot, but I’d rather see a potential meltdown (read Lynn) in between two most-likely quality starts. Of the relievers, I went the young route, selecting four rookies for the eight bullpen spots. Wacha and Martinez will serve as long relief as needed, and Little Pedro could also be a flame-throwing sixth inning as well before Siegrist comes in. Obviously the aforementioned Siegrist makes it after a stellar season, and Maness gets the call as well. We’ll probably need some double plays in the postseason, and he’s the double play guy so the math works out. Axford, Mujica, Choate and Rosenthal round out the bullpen, and Lyons and Westbrook are the two barely left out. Lyons is a fringe guy to me and deserves the spot should the Cardinals keep another pitcher (because he’s a solid lefty who’s a bit more consistent than Freeman), but Westbrook, though experienced, does not have the potential upside that Martinez has. I’ll take what I could get with Martinez rather than what I know I’ll get from Westbrook. Two lefties kinda worries me, but they can get it done.

Hitters (13):

Assuming Craig is healthy (and I’m sure he will be), the starters (which include Kozma), all make it. Here’s where it gets interesting. I have on the bench Adams, Descalso (or Kozma if you prefer), Cruz, Robinson, and Kolten Wong gets the nod over Chambers. Why you ask? Because by taking Robinson (and including Craig as a platoon OF), there are already five outfielders on the playoff roster and I cannot justify taking six. Infielders are more important, and have been more of an issue all season then OF, so Chambers sadly stays home this fall. Wong still has great speed and a little better bat this year, so IF depth increases should something happen to Kozma or Descalso. Plus since David Freese is still playing we’re going to need Carp at third should this team try to succeed, and thus Wong will be needed at second unless Kozma turns into last fall’s Kozma. I also cannot justify three catchers, as Yadi will most likely play every inning barring an injury. Johnson hasn’t shown enough to me to stay and though Ryan Jackson was an interesting thought, he has neither received enough chances to show us anything, nor done anything with said chances.

There you have it, Martinez over Westbrook/Lyons/Freeman and Wong over Chambers/Johnson/Jackson.

But if you prefer an alternate universe, where the Cardinals take more pitchers than hitters, Lyons over Freeman/Wong. I don’t think that’ll happen though.

Your move, Mozeliak.

Josh: Since we get the chance to review our choices up until Friday, I’m going to give Lynn the benefit of last year’s postseason. He impressed me with his composure last night and finally hearing him attacking hitters again is a welcome addition the last half of September.

With that in mind, it will be even harder for Michael Wacha to find a spot in the four-man rotation, and he could end up knocking fellow rookie Carlos Martinez out of a spot. That will also keep his innings down, something I’m sure will get plenty of press once the calendar hits October.

This is how my staff looks at 4:00 pm on 9/17.
#1 Adam W.
#2 Shelby M.
#3 Joe K.
#4 Lance L.

Yes, that means a little moving and shaking would be needed to get the right order, but there are plenty of arms that can make a spot start the final week (you know, once the NL Central is firmly locked up by the Cards).

The addition of Wacha makes having a long man a better option, and I can see Lyons filling that roll quite nicely. Freeman and C-Mart become the odd men out, especially as I keep leaning towards having an extra bench bat.

CL Edward M.
SU Trevor R.
LG Randy C.
DP Seth M.
SO Kevin S.
LM Tyler L.
RK Michael W.
VT John A.

I’m not one for jumping the gun, but I want to see the
guy with a 0.00 ERA for the entire month get a shot at closing before the calendar strikes October. Kevin Siegrist should get votes for ROY, but more importantly than that he has earned a look at the 9th inning.

Dustin: As far as the bench and bullpen I don’t really care. I’d lean experience for the most part so ex: Chambers over Wong for defense and speed. It’s not like there’s been many bench guys lighting up box scores. Bullpen guys on the fringe I’d go down the stretch performance pitches. There’s obviously guys locked in but for the fringe guys go with the hot hand.

The rotation is my only semi passionate thought. If the Cards find themselves in the play in game the only thing I’ll suggest is to not pitch Wainwright on short rest. Just go with a guy on regular rest. Best case they win the division and start in the DS in which case I’d set the rotation based on whether they start at home or on the road. Wainwright’s the number 1 regardless and then if they start at home slot Miller at 2 and then Lynn or Kelly depending 3 and 4. If they start on the road I’d go Kelly 2 with Miller and Lynn to follow. Oh, and obviously Wacha is the odd man out and I would vote for him in the pen.

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Last updated: 10/06/2022