The Cardinals wild card roster twist: part 2

Starting shortstop Pete Kozma

The rules will allow wild card teams roster flexibility, so how might the St. Louis Cardinals act? In part two, we look at position players.

In part one of this article, I made my early pitching predictions for the wild card and National League Division Series.

This article will look at my corresponding position player forecast.

The interesting rub in 2012 is that 25-man rosters used for the new wild card game do not have to be carried over into the NLDS.

With expanded rosters in September, the major league club currently has 33 available players, including 17 position players. Rafael Furcal, on the 15-day disabled list, is not among them.

In part one, I explained why I could see the Cardinals going with 10 pitchers in the wild card game. In that scenario, they would carry 15 position players.

With only 17 players to draw from, the decision to drop to 15 is pretty elementary.

Along with Furcal, Lance Berkman is out with a knee injury. While Berkman is making noise about a potential return yet this season, it seems pretty unlikely. A long shot would be an activation for the World Series, when a designated hitter could be used in the American League park.

That leaves one player to drop. Normally, I would assume the Cardinals would cut their fourth catcher, Steven Hill. However, given the fact that Ryan Jackson is in some kind of odd purgatory, the other removal would have to be him. As of Friday, the shortstop has been glued to the bench for the last 13 days and counting.

In other words, Jackson would be the only healthy player on the September club left off my wild card roster. Some might argue he was left off the final month roster, too, but that is the subject of another article.

To get to the NLDS roster from here is a piece of cake. To drop from the wild card 15 to NLDS 13 position players, the third and fourth catchers, Hill and Bryan Anderson, are inactivated.

That means September additions Pete Kozma and Adron Chambers would be among the active players in the NLDS and perhaps beyond. At least in Kozma's case, no one would have predicted that as recently as last month, but with almost no other options, that is how the numbers work!

Wild card NLDS
Hitters (15) Hitters (13)
Catchers (4) Molina Catchers (2) Molina
Cruz Cruz
Anderson
Hill
Infielders (6) Craig Infielders (6) Craig
Schumaker  Schumaker 
Descalso Descalso
Freese Freese
M Carpenter M Carpenter
Kozma Kozma
Outfielders (5) Holliday Outfielders (5) Holliday
Jay  Jay 
Beltran Beltran
Robinson Robinson
Chambers Chambers
Excluded (3) Berkman (inj) Excluded (5) Berkman (inj)
Furcal (DL) Furcal (DL)
Jackson Jackson
Anderson
Hill

Link to part one.

What do you think? What would you do? Weigh in at The Cardinal Nation subscriber-only message board.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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