Adam Wainwright

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.

Rotation
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Jake Westbrook
4. Jaime Garcia
5. Kyle Lohse
6. P.J. Walters
7. Brian Tallet
8. Ian Snell
9. Lance Lynn
10. Bryan Augenstein
11. Adam Ottavino
12. Miguel Batista
13. Brandon Dickson
14. David Kopp
15. Shelby Miller

The Cardinals don’t lack for rotation options. Lynn is probably the best bet of the alternatives, though new Busch Stadium could probably make Tallet resemble a decent fifth starter if needed. Miller, one of baseball’s top prospects, will start off in the Florida State League. He’s capable, but he’d have to turn in a truly remarkable season to have much chance of jumping to the majors before 2012.

Bullpen
1. Ryan Franklin
2. Kyle McClellan
3. Jason Motte
4. Mitchell Boggs
5. Trever Miller
6. Brian Tallet
7. Fernando Salas
8. P.J. Walters
9. Ian Snell
10. Miguel Batista
11. Raul Valdes
12. Eduardo Sanchez
13. Blake King
14. Adam Reifer
15. Kevin Thomas

It looks like the Cardinals will enter spring training with just one spot on the pitching staff up for grabs. Salas is the best bet from the group that also includes Walters, Snell and Batista, but since he has options remaining, the Cards could choose to look at one of the veterans first.

Catcher
1. Yadier Molina
2. Gerald Laird
3. Bryan Anderson
4. Tony Cruz

First base
1. Albert Pujols
2. Lance Berkman
3. Mark Hamilton

Second base
1. Skip Schumaker
2. Nick Punto
3. Daniel Descalso
4. Tyler Greene

Third base
1. David Freese
2. Tyler Greene
3. Nick Punto
4. Daniel Descalso
5. Allen Craig

Shortstop
1. Ryan Theriot
2. Nick Punto
3. Tyler Greene
4. Peter Kozma

Descalso may well be the team’s best option at second base right now, but that’s not saying a whole lot. He’s due to return to Triple-A as a result of the Punto signing. Maybe he’ll get a chance if Schumaker turns in another first half like last year’s (.255/.318/.324 with his continued subpar defense at second base).

Left field
1. Matt Holliday
2. Jon Jay
3. Allen Craig
4. Skip Schumaker
5. Nick Stavinoha
6. Adron Chambers

Center field
1. Colby Rasmus
2. Jon Jay
3. Skip Schumaker
4. Adron Chambers
5. Daryl Jones

Right field
1. Lance Berkman
2. Jon Jay
3. Allen Craig
4. Nick Stavinoha
5. Amaury Cazana

The Cardinals are taking a big chance on going with Berkman in right field. I think he’ll bounce back offensively, but he’ll give up runs with the glove and he’ll probably struggle to stay healthy in the outfield. Jay was a bust over the final two months of last season and Craig is a fringe player, so the Cards may need help here sooner or later.

The Orioles and Yovani Gallardo are “making progress”

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.

If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.

Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

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First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.

Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.

Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.

Tiger Stadium redevelopment group loses $50K because of its preference for artificial turf

Navin Field
Craig Calcaterra
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We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.

Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:

With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.

Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.

“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”

I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America
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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.