Redbird Droppings: Moving Forward For 2023


Redbird Droppings: looking at the rest of the Cardinals season

Plus the potential Rule V protection list

Now that we are a few weeks away from the trade deadline, what can we expect for the last 5-6 weeks of the season? Probably a lot of bad baseball, but the team can still feel like it accomplished something.

The most important thing for the next few weeks is to see what the team has for next season. A few timely injuries have opened up some playing time; the IL consists of Dylan Carlson, Brendan Donovan*, Nolan Gorman, Ryan Helsley, Steven Matz, Packy Naughton*, Lars Nootbaar, Wilking Rodriguez*, and Jake Woodford (* = out for the season). And this doesn’t include Matthew Liberatore‘s sore back that’s pushing his start back a day. Helsley and Woodford are out on rehab assignments and will be back soon. Carlson could be done for the year as he contemplates ankle surgery.

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Masyn Winn

Masyn Winn is up and should be the everyday shortstop until the end of the season. The team is seeing what they got in Richie Palacios; he was a DFAed in June by the Guardians and traded to the Cardinals for cash. Luken Baker is up with the team. Drew Rom will get a spot start today, while Guillermo Zuniga is in the bullpen.

While it’s great those players are up, the Cardinals could be doing more for the future.

Casey Lawrence, Andrew Suarez, and Drew VerHagen have no future in the Cardinals bullpen. Jose Fermin and Taylor Motter are wastes of roster spots. I wish there was something they could do about Tyler O’Neill, but they need his value as high as possible if the try to trade him this off-season. And I don’t want to touch Adam Wainwright right now.

The rotation should be Miles Mikolas, Liberatore, Zack Thompson, Rom, and Wainwright (unless they did the smart thing and move him to the bullpen). I’d even be OK with a 6-man rotation where the Cardinals try out Woodford, Andre Pallante, and Connor Thomas. Adam Kloffenstein and Sem Robberse should also be considered, as they needed to be added to the 40-man to be protected from the Rule V Draft. The team could also move to a piggyback system for Thompson, Woodford, Pallante, and Thomas as they get stretched out as starters.

The team could replace the 3 already mentioned bullpen pieces, along with James Naile and Kyle Leahy, with guys like Dalton Roach, Jack Ralston, Ian Bedell, Inohan Paniagua, Ryan Shreve, and Logan Gragg (who are all Rule V eligible). The bullpen has been bad enough that adding a few guys to see what they can do won’t make them any worse.

Cutting Fermin and/or Motter would allow the team to look at Nick Dunn, who’s crushed the ball this year and is Rule V eligible. The crowded outfield makes it hard to get guys in, especially since Matt Koperniak and Chase Pinder are Rule V eligible. I’d make Baker the full time DH and fill in for Paul Goldschmidt‘s days off.

Playing these guys will give the Cardinals a better idea of what they need next season and make the games a little more exciting for fans. It would also showcase young talent for potential trades in the off-season; if Baker hits, but you know most of your DH time will go to Gorman and Jordan Walker (because the Cardinals messed up his development by not moving him to the outfield sooner), then he could be a key piece in landing an ace.

Besides the young guys, this would potentially set the Cardinals up for a better draft pick too; the worst 6 teams in the league have a shot at the first pick with the next lottery system they implemented in this year’s draft.

This plan would piss off some players, and it might piss off some fans who think the team is throwing in the towel (they already did that at the deadline).

Rule V Players
Here is the list of Rule V Eligible players for the off-season; they needed to be added to 40-man roster, or the Cardinals will risk losing them in the Rule V Draft in December. The best players I’ve pretty much listed above, but here’s the full list:

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