Four weeks from the season opener. Time to take a first look/guess at what the opening day roster might look like. I think the big question is whether the Cards are going to take 12 or 13 pitchers north. Given the makeup of the projected pitching staff, added to TLR's tendency to prefer more pitching depth than lineup depth, my early guess is that they'll start the season with 13 pitchers. Three things make me think this: 1) many of our bullpen guys are short order pitchers, such as Dennys Reyes, Trever Miller, and Josh Kinney; 2) a couple of our starters struggled to go deep in games early last year, Joel Pineiro and Todd Wellemeyer; 3) it is very likely that the Cards will tread carefully with Chris Carpenter's innings count early in the season. I believe those three things make it a given that Brad Thompson will be part of the staff as an innings eater and that will lead to 13 pitchers on the opening day roster.
Other things that are becoming obvious to me are that David Freese's injury means that Joe Mather is going to start the season at 3B and Skip Schumaker is going to be the 2nd baseman. A good spring thus far by Chris Duncan probably solidifies his status on the roster. Tyler Greene is getting a lot of time in the early spring games in the middle infield, and is hitting .300 at this point. He could definitely be there as a reserve infielder.
Given the above, here is my initial projection:
Rotation: Adam Wainwright, Carp, Kyle Lohse, Wellemeyer and Pineiro
Bullpen: Chris Perez, Reyes, Miller, Kinney, Ryan Franklin, Thompson, Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan
Catchers: Yadi Molina and Jason LaRue
Infield: Albert Pujols, Schumaker, Khalil Greene, Mather, Tyler Greene and Brendan Ryan
Outfield: Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel, Colby Rasmus and Chris Duncan
Taking only four outfielders is tight, but is doable given that Mather can move to the outfield and Ryan or Tyler Greene can step in at 3rd. If TLR takes 12 pitchers instead of 13, I would look for Brian Barton to be the extra outfielder.
This projection leaves guys like Joe Thurston, Nick Stavinoha and John Jay being sent to Memphis, along with of course, Bryan Anderson.