CATCHER: Carson Kelly could start for most teams. Unfortunately for him, the Cardinals aren't one of them with Yadier Molina aging like a fine wine.
INFIELD: Lot of parts, most of them able to play multiple positions. Matt Carpenter can play anywhere but shortstop, but that's OK because Paul Dejong plays there, as does Aledmys Diaz. Jedd Gyorko could in a pinch, but he also plays third and second. Kolten Wong played a lot of the keystone down the stretch and is also in the mix. Jose Martinez could play first if Carpenter's services are desired elsewhere. Geez, this sounds like the liner notes from Boston's first album.
OUTFIELD: The outfield is a little less congested, at least for now. Tommy Pham, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty are the likely starters, despite Piscotty being banished to the minors last season. Randal Grichuk and Martinez are also in the mix.
BENCH: Not everyone listed above will start. The rest make up a nice bench, along with Greg Garcia and Luke Voit.
ROTATION: Probably not this year, but if everyone stays (or gets) healthy, we're looking at a fun group. Carlos Martinez remains the lead dog, followed by Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright and Luke Weaver. Alex Reyes is expected to start in the bullpen then transition to the rotation. Jack Flaherty could grab the fifth spot is the Redbirds don't go outside the organization.
BULLPEN: Normally a team strength, there's serious work to do here. There really isn't anyone in house to close, unless you believe they'll hand the ball to Tyler Lyons, their September closer (I don't). Brett Cecil, Matt Bowman, John Brebbia and Sam Tuivailala are are returning.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH: Kelly, Reyes and Flaherty are all expected to contribute this season. Outfielders Magneuris Sierra and Harrison Bader saw MLB time last year and could be summoned again. Another fly shagger, Tyler O'Neill, acquired last year from the Mariners was added to the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule-5 draft and could also get a look.
POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: The Cardinals are rumored to be in the mix for Giancarlo Stanton, which by extension means they're looking for a middle-of-the-lineup stick. Josh Donaldson was talked about last season. As alluded to, look for an established closer to be acquired, either by trade (Alex Colome?) or free agency.
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