Diving into the depths: St. Louis Cardinals

Leave a comment

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rotation
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Kyle Lohse
4. Brad Penny
5. Mitchell Boggs
6. Jaime Garcia
7. Kyle McClellan
8. Lance Lynn
9. P.J. Walters
10. Adam Ottavino
The Cardinals still figure to go out and get a veteran fifth starter, and re-signing John Smoltz is one possibility. As is, Boggs should be the favorite for the role — he had a 4.10 ERA in his nine starts for St. Louis last season — but both Garcia and Lynn could be better bets as the year progresses.
Bullpen
1. Ryan Franklin
2. Kyle McClellan
3. Dennys Reyes
4. Trever Miller
5. Jason Motte
6. Blake Hawksworth
7. Josh Kinney
8. Ben Jukich
9. Mitchell Boggs
10. Matt Scherer
11. Tyler Norrick
Another right-handed reliever would also be nice, though that has to be a lower priority. Maybe Motte, who has been working on a curve, will step up this year and fill the eighth-inning role.
The Cardinals haven’t announced any minor league signings beyond Ruben Gotay. They’ve likely already added a few veteran relief-types capable of battling Hawksworth and Kinney for the final spot or two available.


Catcher
1. Yadier Molina
2. Jason LaRue
3. Matt Pagnozzi
4. Bryan Anderson
First base
1. Albert Pujols
2. Mark Hamilton
3. David Freese
4. Joe Mather
Second base
1. Skip Schumaker
2. Julio Lugo
3. Tyler Greene
4. Ruben Gotay
Third base
1. David Freese
2. Julio Lugo
3. Ruben Gotay
4. Tyler Greene
Shortstop
1. Brendan Ryan
2. Julio Lugo
3. Tyler Greene
Freese isn’t a lock for third base just yet, but the re-signing of Holliday, by using up most of the Cardinals’ available budget, dramatically improved his chances. I think he’ll hit, but his defense will probably be pretty spotty, and it might be for the best if the Cards had an experienced third baseman to play behind him. Melvin Mora would be the logical choice.
Left field
1. Matt Holliday
2. Allen Craig
3. Jon Jay
4. Joe Mather
5. Nick Stavinoha
6. Daryl Jones
Center field
1. Colby Rasmus
2. Shane Robinson
3. Skip Schumaker
4. Jon Jay
Right field
1. Ryan Ludwick
2. Nick Stavinoha
3. Joe Mather
4. Allen Craig
5. Jon Jay
The Cardinals have nine outfielders on their 40-man roster, yet they’re still probably going to add a veteran reserve before the start of the spring. Mather, Stavinoha and Robinson just aren’t that good, and all are candidates to be chopped from the roster when spots are needed. The Cards need a right-handed hitter capable of playing center — perhaps Randy Winn or Reed Johnson — and then maybe a left-handed bat as well (Gabe Gross? Frank Catalanotto?). As is, LaRue and Lugo are the only locks for their bench.

Report: Indians acquire catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 31:  Jonathan Lucroy #20 of the Milwaukee Brewers rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on May 31, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Indians have acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Lucroy still has to waive his limited no-trade clause, and the two teams are reviewing medicals before the deal is finalized.

The Brewers are reportedly receiving four players in the deal, three of which are currently known: catcher Francisco Mejia, shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang, and outfielder Greg Allen. The fourth as yet unknown player is a “lesser prospect,” per Rosenthal.

Lucroy, 30, leaves the Brewers having hit .300/.360/.484 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 375 plate appearances. He earned his second All-Star nomination, representing the National League at Petco Park nearly three weeks ago. Lucroy represents a huge upgrade behind the dish for the Indians, who have gotten a major league-worst .501 OPS from their catchers this season. Lucroy is owed the remainder of his $4 million salary for this season and the Indians will have a $5.25 million club option for 2017 with a $250,000 buyout.

Mejia, 20, was regarded as the Indians’ sixth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He spent most of the season with Single-A Lake County, batting .347/.384/.531 in 259 plate appearances. That led to a promotion to High-A Lynchburg near the end of June. Mejia, a switch-hitter, is currently on an impressive 42-game hitting streak in the minors.

Chang, 20, hit .273/.347/.493 with 12 home runs and 69 RBI in 419 PA with Lynchburg. He has experience playing third base as well as shortstop, but because he doesn’t have a strong arm, he projects better at shortstop going forward. MLB Pipeline rated him as the Indians’ 12th-best prospect.

Allen, 23, was considered the Indians’ 22nd-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. A switch-hitter, he batted .298/.424/.402 with 24 extra-base hits, 31 RBI, 93 runs scored, and 38 stolen bases in 432 PA for Lynchburg before being promoted to Double-A Akron last week.

Report: Padres trade Matt Kemp to the Braves for Hector Olivera

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 06:  Matt Kemp #27 of the San Diego Padres talks in the dugout prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Braves at PETCO Park on June 6, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
Kent Horner/Getty Images
24 Comments

Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.

*

ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.

Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.

Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.

Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.