ST. LOUIS -- Baseball season never truly ends in St. Louis, where the chatter, rumors and opinions about what moves the Cardinals should make still dominate everyday conversation amid the countdown to Spring Training.It's the sort of frenzied appetite for baseball that no one on the Cardinals' roster understands better
ST. LOUIS -- Baseball season never truly ends in St. Louis, where the chatter, rumors and opinions about what moves the Cardinals should make still dominate everyday conversation amid the countdown to Spring Training.
It's the sort of frenzied appetite for baseball that no one on the Cardinals' roster understands better than Luke Voit. Born and raised in the suburbs of St. Louis, Voit deepened his roots by recently purchasing his own home in the area. And so it is impossible to escape the surrounding buzz.
"I hear it all the time because I'm here," Voit said. "I turn on the radio and that's all they're talking about. It's interesting."
For Voit, it's also relevant.
After making his Major League debut in 2017, Voit's position on the team's first-base depth chart isn't yet clear. It will depend, in part, on whether the Cardinals make additional moves in the coming weeks.
The Cardinals' search for offensive upgrades could lead them to snag another impact hitter, this one likely a corner infielder. That could affect where Matt Carpenter fits, as well as where Jose Martinez falls on the first-base depth chart. Voit sees the potential logjam at his position, though he insists he will refrain from analyzing his own fit until after the roster is more settled.
"Whatever they think will make the team better and help us get to the playoffs and help us win the World Series is all we can ask for," Voit said. "You have to trust in what they do, and whether you're a part of it or not, it's a business, and you have to understand that."
Voit ascended to the Majors quicker than most expected, but deservedly so after opening the season as one of the Pacific Coast League's top hitters. His first impression was a strong one, as Voit doubled in his first start, drove in four runs a week later and homered three times in the team's final homestand of the first half.
His playing time after the All-Star break was limited, though Voit was one of three Cardinals to finish the year with at least three pinch-hits. In total, he made 18 starts and slashed .246/.306/.430 in 124 plate appearances.
"I learned that if you have success, there's always going to be a way that they're going to attack you to stop it," Voit said, reflecting back on his rookie year. "Finding a way to stay mentally strong and coming back to where I understand how to make adjustments is critical. You have to be consistent. Whenever you get an opportunity, take full advantage of it. I think I tried to do too much when I first got [called] up."
Those are lessons he'll take into Spring Training, where Voit intends to make a push for consideration on the Opening Day roster. Voit is engaging in an intense workout schedule this offseason, and he resumed hitting in November after giving his body a short break.
And all the while, he continues to listen and wait with the same anticipation that so many in his baseball-hungry community do at this time of year.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.