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.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.