After a challenging offseason and Spring Training that saw our best pitch require Tommy John all Cards fans were waiting for the season to start and hope it would turn our luck around. Opening Day didn’t go as well as we had hoped but the bright spots were Chris Carpenter, Colby Rasmus and Matt Holliday. Well earlier today we heard that Holliday was undergoing an appendectomy and will miss at least 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks. So after validating this wasn’t just a bad April Fools joke I started to think what will the Cards do now with Holliday certainly hitting the DL?
First off let’s look at the bright side of this injury: Its only 2-6 weeks and not another injury that loses a key member of our team for the year. We are taking the glass is half full approach. Next we need to take a look at who will replace Holliday in the starting lineup? And what will our batting lineup look like without Holliday? And lastly what prospects will have a chance to get an early call? I will attempt to answer these questions though TLR is very hard to read so I might be way off base!
Who will start in place of Holliday?
To me its an obvious approach based on how TLR typically manages. Jay and Craig will share the duties and if 1 of them gets hot TLR will most likely ride out the hot streak. I personally see Craig as a bigger contributor offensively yet a step behind Jay defensively. Craig has the pop to provide a legitimate threat in the lineup. Jay will provide better overall defense but will spray the ball around and pop an occasional double. One thing is for sure…this is a great opportunity for both of these guys to showcase their growth from last year and might be a chance for opposing teams scouts to take an extended look at each for a potential trade later in the year. My vote is give Craig a chance first and see if his bat will come alive.
What will the batting lineup look without Holliday?
Another great question with a complex answer! TLR likes to shuffle the lineup so I am not sure we will see a consistent batting order. But my guess is more times than not they will stay with Theriot and Rasmus at the top and Pujols stays in teh 3 hole with Berkman sliding to the 4 hole with Freese in the 5 hole. Beyond the 5 hole is where the shuffling will happen. I would say put Craig or Jay in the 6 hole depending on who is starting. That will leave Molina and Skip going 7-8 respectively with the pitcher batting 9th.
What prospect will get the early call?
I would warn any Cards fan that the choice will most likely not be a sexy pick. I don’t think Adron Chambers is ready and there are no other upside OF’s that will be considered. To me if they choose to pick an OF it will be Stavinoha. Not that I don’t like Stavinoha it just isn’t a sexy pick. But the experience will be key and they will be looking for a bat off the bench which Stavi has shown the ability in the past to provide value in this role. But who says it will definitely be an OF that is called up? I personally think with only 1 day off for the next 2+ weeks it would be more beneficial to call up a reliever. The obvious choice is Fernando Salas who was the last cut and had a terrific spring. With McClellan maybe not ready to go more than 6 and Garcia having a very rough spring we might need an extra RP early in the year. My vote says we call up Salas and have that extra arm.
***Edit: Forgot Stavi is no longer on the 40 man roster which probably negates him getting the call. The only OF on the 40 man not on the big league club is Chambers which I don’t feel is ready. This leads me to believe Salas will be the man called up***