Sunday, April 1, 2012
The defending World Champion Cardinals and Marlins will open the season in the Marlins new ballpark this Wednesday. Strangely, it's a one game series. I've never seen a schedule one game series before, and the only time I've seen it is rainout makeup games and playoff tiebreakers. The Miami Marlins new look is terrible, those are probably the worst uniforms baseball has seen since the Angels late-90's Disney themed unis. The Marlins made big moves in the offseason, acquiring All Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left handed starter Mark Buehrle, closer Heath Bell, and starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano. They also hired former White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen as manager. They already had emerging star Mike Stanton, ace pitcher Josh Johnson, first baseman Gaby Sanchez, and Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez is moving from short to third, although he was reluctant to do so. They have alot of talent in Miami, but an interesting mix of personalities and egos.
The Cardinals will be managed by Mike Matheny, and it will be the first time since 1995 that Tony La Russa wasn't filling out the lineup cards. Joe Torre and Mike Jorgensen were managers that year. Chris Carpenter will start the year on the disabled list due to neck stiffness. Skip Schumaker(oblique) and Allen Craig(knee) will also start the season on the DL. Kyle Lohse will be the Cardinals opening day starter, marking the second time he has had that honor. Rule V draft pick Erik Komatsu made the club over Adron Chambers, and non roster invitee Scott Linebrink made the team over Eduardo Sanchez. Apparently, Sanchez was sent down to Triple A to work on his command but I suspect he'll be up soon. Tony Cruz beat out Brian Anderson to be Yadier Molina's backup, and Matheny announced that Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene will split time at second. The Cardinals opening day roster is listed below.
IF-Berkman, Greene, Furcal, Freese, Descalso, Matt Carpenter
OF-Holliday, Jay, Beltran, Komatsu, Shane Robinson
SP-Lohse, Wainwright, Garcia, Westbrook, Lynn
RP-Motte, Salas, Rzepchynski, McClellan, Boggs, Linebrink, JC Romero
DL-C Carpenter, Craig, Schumaker
I would expect Shane Robinson's stay in the big leagues to be brief once Craig and Schumaker come back. Linebrink will have to pitch well to keep his roster spot as well once Carpenter returns. There are alot of hard throwing relief pitchers in the minors as well including Eduardo Sanchez. Top prospects Matt Adams and Shelby Miller will start out in Triple A. Potentially, the could see some time in the big leagues this year but will likely have to wait until September. Trevor Rosenthal impressed the team in spring training and threw in the high 90s, and he will skip High A and start off in Double A. Top hitting prospect Oscar Tavares and 2011 first round pick Kolten Wong will also skip High A after playing in Low A last year and start off in Double A. Unfortunately, relief pitching prospect Jordan Swagerty will have Tommy John surgery and miss the season. The Cardinals home opener isn't until April 13th, but its against the Cubs. It will be nice to raise another championship banner that weekend against our archrivals who haven't won a World Series since Theodore Roosevelt was president.
Jamie Moyer made the Rockies rotation at age 49, making him the oldest player baseball has had since Julio Franco in 2007. Omar Vizquel made the Blue Jays at age 45 as a utility infielder. Moyer and Vizquel are the last two players to play that made their debut in the 80s. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones has said 2012 will be his last season and Phillies first baseman Jim Thome will most likely being playing his last season as well. Roy Oswalt, Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon, Edgar Renteria, Pudge Rodriguez, and Derrek Lee are all unsigned this year and may of played their final games last year. Oswalt seems to have the most left in the tank, and I would expect him to sign with some team. Jorge Posada announced his retirement earlier this year, and longtime teammate Andy Pettitte surprisingly decided to make a comeback about a month later. Posada, Pettitte, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera are the last links to the Yankees dynasty under Joe Torre.