Cardinals Build for the 2020 Season

Josh Calloni, Reporter

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Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month and the Cardinals are looking to build upon their 2019 season in 2020.

With a month left in the offseason, the team that won the 2019 NL Central has kept together for the most part. The only departures via free agency have been pitchers Michael Wacha and Chasen Shreve, both of whom signed with the Mets, and Mike Mayers, who was claimed by the Angels. Outfielder Marcell Ozuna joins that trio, as he inked a one year deal with the Atlanta Braves.

 As for the additions, they have been rather quiet. Wacha’s role was replaced by international free agent Kwang-Hyun Kim, who was signed to a two year deal. The only other addition was pitcher Matthew Liberatore, who should not see the majors for a few seasons. He was traded for Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, a trade made possible due to the teams extreme outfield depth. As for the remaining month, a superstar acquisition could be in the fold, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, as the team is exploring trades for Nolan Arenado.

“I have high hopes for the Cardinals in 2020. I think coming off of the division win they are going to play with momentum. I would think last season since they did not hit very well that they have to rebound at least some, so that’s a major plus for the team,” junior Andrew Hellman said.

As of now, the projected 26 man roster looks a lot like the 2019 version. The offense will remain the same with Yadier Molina behind the plate, and an infield of Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Paul DeJong and Matt Carpenter. 

The outfield is where the only glaring change will come, as of now, however. Harrison Bader and Dexter Fowler should get the bulk of the playing time in left and right, and with the departure of Ozuna, Tyler O’Neill is projected to see the most playing time in left field, according to rosterresource.com. The offensive reserves project to include Yairo Munoz and Tommy Edman, who are both capable of playing all over the diamond, Matt Wieters, who returns as Molina’s backup, Lane Thomas as the fourth outfielder, and Rangel Ravelo as the primary pinch hitter, which was Martinez’s role before he was dealt to Tampa Bay. 

“I think the Cardinals aren’t going to be as good this year. They are depending on a lot of question marks and lost some prominent members of their team, like Marcell Ozuna, to free agency. I do not think they will be awful, but definitely a step down from 2019,” junior Aiden Alderson said. 

Looking into the rotation, the top four of Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright will all return, and Kim is projected to get the look as the fifth starter. As for the bullpen, Carlos Martinez will resume his position as the teams closer, with Giovanny Gallegos and John Brebbia acting as his set up men. Andrew Miller and Tyler Webb lineup as the lefties in the bullpen, and John Gant will join them as well. The last two spots could be an open competition, as Junior Fernandez, Brett Cecil, Ryan Helsley, Alex Reyes, Genesis Cabrera and Daniel Ponce De Leon could all see the opening day bullpen spot. A free agent could be brought into the fold as well.

The current 2020 Cardinal is one that is projected to win the NL Central over the Cincinnati Reds, according to mlb.com