The Cardinals’ roster came into much clearer focus on Monday following 10 cuts. The moves left the club with 30 players remaining in Major League camp, two of whom will begin the season on the disabled list.
The Cardinals optioned pitcher Blake King, first baseman Mark Hamilton and catcher Tony Cruz to Triple-A Memphis and re-assigned non-roster pitchers John Gast, Brandon Dickson, Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn and Raul Valdes, infielder Matt Carpenter and outfielder Shane Robinson to minor league camp. As a result, St. Louis has two extra pitchers and one extra position player still in camp.
Carpenter was the most surprising cut, since he appeared to have made a very strong case to be on the club as the backup to third baseman David Freese. Instead, it now appears that Daniel Descalso is a heavy favorite to make the team in that capacity. The club could also find a way to keep outfielder/catcher Nick Stavinoha rather than Descalso, but that is a long shot at this time.
On the pitching side, it appears that four contenders are vying for two bullpen spots, and that Kyle McClellan is set as the club’s fifth starter. Lynn and Dickson were the only pitchers still in camp who were getting starter-type workloads, and now that they are gone, there does not appear to be any real alternative in Major League camp to McClellan as the fifth starter. McClellan’s standing has been evident for quite some time, though manager Tony La Russa has continued to insist that the decision is not made.
That would then leave two open spots in the relief corps. Miguel Batista, Bryan Augenstein, Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez are the candidates for those spots, assuming the club does not acquire a reliever from somewhere outside the organization between now and Opening Day.