Diving into the depths: St. Louis Cardinals

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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.

Edwin Encarnacion: “I think [the Blue Jays] got too hasty in making their decision.”

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.

Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:

“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’

Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .