Cardinals roster and schedule
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St. Louis Cardinals roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The St. Louis Cardinals roster and schedule:

CARDINALS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Cardinals roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Yadier Molina
Matt Wieters
Andrew Knizner

Infielders:

Paul Goldschmidt
Kolten Wong
Paul DeJong
Matt Carpenter
Tommy Edman
Brad Miller

Outfielders:

Dexter Fowler
Harrison Bader
Lane Thomas
Tyler O'Neill
Austin Dean

Starters:

Jack Flaherty
Dakota Hudson
Adam Wainwright
Miles Mikolas
Carlos Martínez
Kwang-Hyun Kim

Relievers:

Martínez/Kim
Andrew Miller
Brett Cecil
John Gant
Ryan Helsley
Tyler Webb
Junior Fernández


BREAKDOWN:

Though the Cardinals always seem to be in the playoff hunt, they won the division last year for the first time since 2015. They are looking to repeat as NL Central champs in a much shorter 60-game season. They’ll attempt to do so relying heavily on their pitching staff.

Last season, the Cardinals’ starting rotation combined for a 3.78 ERA, the fifth-best mark in baseball, behind only the Dodgers, Nationals, Astros, and Rays. Jack Flaherty, establishing himself as the ace of the rotation, was a big reason behind that. The right-hander, at the age of 23, posted a 2.75 ERA with 231 strikeouts and 55 walks over 196 1/3 innings, finishing fourth in NL Cy Young balloting. While it’s a big ask to have someone repeat a sub-3.00 ERA, Flaherty is one of the handful of hurlers in the game one can see doing it on a consistent basis. Flaherty will be flanked by a solid corps of arms in Dakota Hudson, Adam Wainwright, and Miles Mikolas. Carlos Martínez and Kwang-Hyun Kim are vying for the No. 5 spot. The Cardinals need bullpen depth and Martínez has spent most of the last two seasons in relief, so he may open the season in the bullpen, but nothing has been decided by manager Mike Shildt as of yet.

If Martínez returns to the bullpen, he’ll do so coming off of a solid though injury-shortened 2019 season. He logged 48 1/3 innings, recording 24 saves with a 3.17 ERA, 53 strikeouts, and 18 walks. Sans Martínez, the Cardinals have a plethora of potential closers in Kim, Alex Reyes, Giovanny Gallegos, and Andrew Miller. They could also use a closer-by-committee setup. After all, last year’s bullpen posted an aggregate 3.88 ERA, the sixth-best mark in the game behind the Rays, Astros, Indians, Giants, and Dodgers.

Baseball Prospectus projects the Cardinals to play about .500, good for third place in the NL Central. If the Cardinals are to buck those projections, they will need the offense to step up. Outside of Tommy Edman, whose adjusted OPS of 120 was the best mark on the team last year (min. 100 PA), none of the hitters’ performances knocked anyone’s socks off. Even Paul Goldschmidt’s 113 adjusted OPS was a disappointment by his own standards. His previous career-low in a season (min. 200 PA) was 126 in 2012 and he was coming off of back-to-back seasons of 142.

CARDINALS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 24-26: vs. Pirates
  • July 28-29: @ Twins
  • July 31-August 2: @ Brewers
  • August 3-4: @ Tigers
  • August 5-6: vs. Tigers
  • August 7-9: vs. Cubs
  • August 10-12: vs. Pirates
  • August 13, 15-16: @ White Sox
  • August 17-19: @ Cubs
  • August 20-23: vs. Reds
  • August 24-26: vs. Royals
  • August 28-30: vs. Indians
  • August 31-September 2: @ Reds
  • September 4-7: @ Cubs
  • September 8-9: vs. Twins
  • September 11-13: vs. Reds
  • September 14-16: @ Brewers
  • September 17-20: @ Pirates
  • September 21-23: @ Royals
  • September 24-27: vs. Brewers

The entire Cardinals schedule can be seen here.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”