The 2021 Cardinals Roster: February 10th Edition

Players will report to Jupiter, FL a week from today to get the 2021 season started.  While there are always Spring Training surprises or disappointments, the Cardinals aren’t having a lot of “open auditions” for roster spots to start the season.  Injuries, or now even Covid, can always stop a player from taking an active spot on a roster.  Here is my way too early 26-man roster prediction, that I think the Cardinals will open up with on April 1st in Cincinnati.

*Denotes Projected Starter

Catchers (2)

Yadier Molina*

Andrew Knizner

Infielders (6)

Paul Goldschmidt*    

Tommy Edman*

Paul Dejong*

Nolan Arenado* (How awesome is that!)

Matt Carpenter

Edmundo Sosa

Outfielders (5)

Dylan Carlson*

Harrison Bader*

Tyler O’Neil*

Lane Thomas

Justin Williams

Starting Rotation (5)

Jack Flaherty

Miles Mikolas

Kwang Hyun Kim

Adam Wainwright

Carlos Martinez/Daniel Ponce de Leon

Bullpen (8)

Carlos Martinez/Daniel Ponce de Leon

John Gant

Giovanny Gallegos

Alex Reyes

Ryan Helsey

Genesis Cabrera

Andrew Miller

Jordan Hicks

Players out of Options (can’t be sent down to the minors without passing through waivers)

Justin Williams, Edmundo Sosa, John Gant, Daniel Ponce de Leon, & Tyler Webb.

The biggest names left off of my 26-man roster are Seth Elledge, Johan Oviedo, Tyler Webb, Kodi Whitley, and Jake Woodford.  All of the aforementioned are pitchers we could see the Cardinals call up at any time to fill a void.  The biggest name is probably Tyler Webb, however I can’t justify giving Webb a spot over any of the other relievers on my current roster.  I feel like they would want to include Webb in the bullpen, but that would come at the expense of either Lane Thomas or Justin Williams not making the roster.  Justin Williams is out of options so I’d give him the nod to make the team.  Don’t count out Lane Thomas.  Thomas wasn’t himself in 2020 after suffering from Covid, and I feel like could get a lot of at bats as the season progresses.  If either Bader or O’Neil seem to be hitting the ball well, then the Cardinals can go with four outfielders, thus letting another reliever make the roster.  However, if both Bader and O’Neil aren’t hitting, I think the Cardinals carry five outfielder to mix and match the hot bats.  To say that this year is a make or break year for Bader and O’Neil would be the understatement of the year for the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals.  

The 5th starter conversation could also include Alex Reyes, John Gant, and many other pitchers who won’t make the 26-man roster.  The Cardinals have lots of pitching depth.  The biggest issue for the front office is to make sure they don’t give up on a pitcher and they get “Arozarena’d” again.

The biggest thing for the Cardinals this spring will be to keep their key players healthy (a concern for every team).  Additionally they need to figure out where the rest of their arms stack up when a need arises in the rotation or bullpen.  It’s going to be imporant to see what younger arms like Matthew Liberatore, and Zack Thompson show, along with young bats Nolan Gorman, Ivan Herrera, and Luken Baker provide, after missing a full season last year due to no Minor League Baseball.  It’s essential to see what Matt Carpenter still has left; is he strictly a guy that plays on “getaway day”, or can he give the team regular at bats at 2B which would then let Tommy Edman turn into a true swiss army knife type of player.  Having Nolan Arenado in the fold makes outside expectations much higher than they were, however it’s just as important for the outfielders to show signs of life and not flirt with the dreaded Mendoza line.

As the spring rolls forward, look for another roster update on Interstate 70 Sports Media.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Cardinals roster in the comment section on our website.  Thanks for reading!

(Photo Credit: Brian & Jaclyn Drum from Chicago, Illinois)

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