HOUSTON -- With 42 games left on the Cardinals' schedule and a Wild Card berth up for grabs, it seems like a good time to tackle another batch of your questions. I plucked some questions off Twitter; others were emailed to me. Just remember to kindly submit your name and
HOUSTON -- With 42 games left on the Cardinals' schedule and a Wild Card berth up for grabs, it seems like a good time to tackle another batch of your questions. I plucked some questions off Twitter; others were emailed to me. Just remember to kindly submit your name and hometown along with your question when sending one in the future.
Are there any potential September callups who are not currently on the 40-man roster? Ryan Sherriff? Harrison Bader? And will we see Mike Ohlman, Carson Kelly or Patrick Wisdom on the roster in September?
-- Curry S., Abilene, Kan.
The Cardinals are already in a 40-man roster crunch, so I don't expect any other players to be added before the end of the year. The organization's September additions are likely to be mostly from the disabled list. Players like Aledmys Díaz, Brayan Peña, Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Adams hope to be back next month. Matt Holliday, Michael Wacha, Jordan Walden and Lance Lynn could rehab quickly enough to be options as well. As far as Minor League callups are concerned, they could well be limited to relievers like Miguel Socolovich and Dean Kiekhefer.
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Have you heard any rumors on where the Cardinals' interest will be in the offseason? I think they should bring back Brandon Moss, and I also think they should make a serious run at Mark Trumbo to play first base.
-- Scott H., Macomb, Ill.
As far as players whom the Cardinals might pursue via free agency, it's too early to know. The free-agent class is expected to be thin, which will only boost the demand for sluggers like Trumbo and Moss. General manager John Mozeliak has said that he would be interested in exploring an extension with Moss, who has enjoyed a resurgence this season. The question is whether Moss and the Cards can come to an agreement on dollars and years. With Moss about to turn 33, St. Louis will be cautious on the length of an extension with him.
What are the chances that the Cardinals exercise their option with Holliday for next year? If they don't, do you think they might sign him as a free agent to a lesser contract, or would he fit better in the American League as a designated hitter?
-- Stephen L.
Looking at this objectively, I think there's a strong argument to be made that the AL would provide the best fit for Holliday. That's not necessarily his preference, though, as he has said he hopes to finish his career a Cardinal. The club option for 2017 is worth $17 million. Despite Holliday's age and waning production, I do still think there's a real possibility that option will be exercised. With no certainty that Moss will re-sign and questions about how the Cards will cover left field and first base next season, Holliday could be retained as insurance. Perhaps his production could be maximized in a part-time role.
I do not understand the way Kolten Wong is treated by manager Mike Matheny. I know Wong wasted a lot of opportunities earlier in the season, but so did Randal Grichuk and Greg Garcia. What are your thoughts?
-- Jim G., St. Louis
The regular playing time that Garcia continues to get is a product of the defensive stability he's brought to the shortstop position. With Jhonny Peralta still getting used to game speed after so much time missed and Jedd Gyorko limited in range at short, Garcia is the best defensive option there until Diaz returns. His offensive production is a secondary factor in his opportunities. And unfortunately for Wong, he's not a shortstop.
Grichuk, too, is benefiting from need. With Holliday out, the Cardinals have an outfield void to fill. Matheny recently encouraged Grichuk to play freer, and the assurance that he'll be in the lineup seems to have benefited Grichuk already. In six games since returning from Triple-A Memphis, he has seven extra-base hits. As for Wong, he's been caught in no-man's land as the Cards try to balance winning now with developing young talent.
Am I the only one who notices that the decline of the defense and the increase of fielding errors corresponds to the day Jose Oquendo left for knee surgery? Has there been any discussion about when/if he is coming back?
-- Joe S.
To be fair, this team was showing defensive vulnerabilities all the way back to Spring Training, even when Oquendo was around. Oquendo has had a great impact on Cardinals defenders for years. But his absence isn't an excuse for all the issues this year. I think a bigger factor has been youth (i.e., Diaz) and a constant shuffling of positions.
I do not expect Oquendo to return to the Major League coaching staff next season. However, he has expressed interest in possibly taking a role as a Minor League instructor.
Any more chatter on Carlos Gómez?
-- Dennis C. (@dc1165), Sikeston, Mo.
The Cardinals have explored the trade market for Gomez, but I don't expect any movement there. Not only is the club hesitant to part with any prospects in a trade, but St. Louis also seems committed to giving Grichuk a chance to play. Unless the Cards believe they have identified what's gone wrong for Gomez and are confident they could fix him fast, he's not a better option than what they already have.
We potentially have seven starters next year, so who is most likely to be traded this offseason?
-- Sean B. (@beachbob1), Johnston, Iowa
That's the sort of starting depth the Cardinals will want to keep -- and for good reason. Jaime García will only return if the Cards exercise his club option. Wacha's viability as a 200-inning starter is in question, so you can't count on a full season of work for him. Similarly, with Alex Reyes and Luke Weaver, both would be limited in workload next year as they continue to build up stamina. With so much uncertainty, depth is a necessity.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.