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My 2009 Opening Day Roster…

Per Derrick Goold tweeting from Twitter…Chris Perez has been optioned to Triple A to make room for Brad Thompson on the Cards’ Opening Day roster. Apparently the team feels they need an innings guy for long relief during the grueling, one-day-off April schedule. I agree…but not completely.

Here’s my Opening Day roster if the Cards’ front office thought to consult the all-too-knowledgeable staff at Cards ‘N Stuff.

STARTING PITCHERS
No surprise here, so I’ll make it short and sweet.

  1. Adam Wainwright
  2. Kyle Lohse
  3. Todd Wellemeyer
  4. Chris Carpenter
  5. Joel Pineiro

In that order.

CATCHERS
Again, this is an easy one. The no-brainer guys are:

  1. Yadier Molina
  2. Jason LaRue

INFIELDERS
Because I want to save the bullpen lineup for last, we’re gonna’ jump right into the position players – starting with the infielders.

  1. Albert Pujols (1B) – ‘Nuff said.
  2. Khalil Greene (SS) – Again…no brainer. Let’s hope he can carry his hitting into the season.
  3. Skip Schumaker (2B) – This time last year…never thought I would say this…but Skip’s the man at second. Good to see him improving.
  4. David Freese (3B)– This is truly a positive coming out of camp. Freese is a plus player with strong defense and an exciting bat.
  5. Brendan Ryan (Utility) – I just like Ryan’s energy. He has the ability to make things happen on offense, and his defensive versatility has only improved this season.
  6. Brian Barden (Utility)– Aaaannnddd…here we go. I know Joe Thurston has become the new thing in camp, but Barden’s my guy. He may have a “limited” bat, but it’s still a good bat. The man is solid on defense, can play anywhere on the infield, and he is a true ball player. You may say his offensive performance this Spring came in limited at-bats (especially compared to his counter-part, Thurston), but I say all the more reason to keep him on the roster. In limited, sporadic at-bats, Barden has done nothing but hit (.385) and get on base (.442 before today’s game). The guy puts the ball in play. What more could you ask of a utility-playing, bench-warming, part-time pinch-hitter?

OUTFIELDERS
Here it is…the big one…the roster configuration where Colby Rasmus does NOT make the Opening Day squad.

  1. Rick Ankiel – Guy’s a slugger. Be fun to watch him this season.
  2. Ryan Ludwick – All-Star…he’s on.
  3. Chris Duncan – This guy is gonna’ be exciting this season. His power’s back, and I think dealing with his injury the last couple years has made him a better hitter (better contact, fewer strikeouts, more walks).
  4. Joe Mather– I know his bat has been quiet, lately…but the odd thing is he’s still capable of running up his RBI count. Despite his recent dip in production, he’s a valuable, Scott Spezio role guy. He’s on in my book.

Rasmus is not on. I’m not sayin’ he shouldn’t be brought up near the end of April, but let’s not jump the gun. Let the guy get everyday at-bats to jump-start his season in April and let his arbitration clock start later. Why? Because I want Chris Perez on the team.

BULLPEN
The Cardinals have a tight schedule in April with only one off day and all five starters still in early season form. You need a long relief guy like Brad Thompson on the team…but that doesn’t have to come at the expense of Chris Perez.

  1. Ryan Franklin – Looks to be great this year.
  2. Josh Kinney – Gonna’ be nasty this season. The arm looks good and the stuff looks filthy.
  3. Jason Motte – The man’s a beast. I love watching him take the mound. He makes me believe nothing shakes him…and it’s the hitter that’s on the defensive.
  4. Trever Miller – One of two lefty specialists on the team. He’s a must…but he makes me uncomfortable. He has not…I repeat, not…had a good Spring. But…recently…a bit better.
  5. Dennys Reyes – The other lefty and a late addition, he could be the best move we’ve made in the off-season.
  6. Kyle McClellan – The righty seems to have righted himself with his return to “his” side of the rubber. He’ll be strong again this season…and may end up filling a brief need as a long reliever.
  7. Brad Thompson – This guy has made a career of pitching on the bubble. His role the last few seasons is under-appreciated and all-too necessary. Good to see him on the team…but with young relievers like K-Mac, Motte, and Perez…how long will he remain?
  8. Chris Perez – Perez was just optioned to AAA…and I don’t like it. The way he’s throwing, and considering the way our bullpen functioned last season, the best course of action here is to plug him into Raz’s roster spot until April is over…then make the tough call in the ‘pen based on performance. But…alas…the team doesn’t see it that way. We have not seen the last of Chris Perez in 2009.

And that does it…my roster preference. To summarize, I went with six infielders, four outfielders, and a whopping thirteen pitchers to help support the Arms Race of April. My roster delays the arrival of Colby Rasmus in favor of Perez’s Opening Day debut, but it’s worth it. With one off day in the opening month, what do we need yet another left-handed outfielder for, anyway?

Anywho…with less than a week ’til Opening Day…

GO CARDS!!!!

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