If everything were normal, today might be the day the Cardinals for the first time finalized a 26-man roster. With the team in Cincinnati getting ready for a mid-afternoon start against the Reds, John Mozeliak and the rest of the front office might have put out a press release today that outlined all of the players that would get the privilege of being the first Cardinals of 2020.
So who would they have been? It feels like the roster is pretty well set–or will be if things ever get started and they don’t expand the rosters. We’ve talked about how it feels like rosters might be bigger than 26 for at least part of the season and, as Kyle Reis noted in a recent Prospects After Dark, they may stay expanded if teams are going to play regular doubleheaders to make up for all the games that they are going to be missing. If it was just 26, though, we’d probably see something like this:
Catchers (2): Yadier Molina, Matt Wieters
Infielders (7): Matt Carpenter, Paul DeJong, Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, Brad Miller, Rangel Ravelo, Kolten Wong
Outfielders (4): Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler, Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas
Starters (5): Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Carlos Martinez, Kwang Hyun Kim, Adam Wainwright
Relievers (8): John Brebbia, Junior Fernandez, Giovanny Gallegos, John Gant, Ryan Helsley, Andrew Miller, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Tyler Webb
The only debate–save Dylan Carlson, I guess, but there are many reasons why he would have gone to Memphis–would be in the last spots of the bullpen. We’re assuming Andrew Miller would have been healthy enough to go north. If not, you could coin flip Austin Gomber or Genesis Cabrera for that spot and been the second lefty. Brett Cecil was going to probably start on a rehab assignment even before he pulled a muscle in one of the last games. My guess is Cabrera would have gotten the nod and Gomber would have gone to Memphis to be a rotation depth option, but it could have easily gone the other way.
There’s also the question of Alex Reyes. If he’s healthy, do you run the risk of him wasting bullets in Memphis? What if he gets hurt there? However, it still looks like he could use a little more sharpening, a little more repetition. He’s got an option and he hasn’t played much, so I could see them letting him have a few weeks of regular AAA work.
Other than that, it seems pretty standard. Now that normalcy has gone right out the window, though, there’s no telling what the Opening Day roster will look like. I just hope we get to see it sooner rather than later!