(BaseballStL) - There are a boat load of teams in Major League baseball that would love to have the “problem” the Cardinals are about to face. Having too much talent isn’t much of a problem at all.
But it’s still an issue nevertheless.
A bullpen – not counting Nick Greenwood who was brought up as Carlos Martinez insurance – fully stocked with guys more than deserving of being in the big leagues is about to welcome back two more pitchers.
Kevin Siegrist, who’s been sidelined for a couple weeks with a forearm strain, is nearing a return just as Joe Kelly, out since April with a hamstring tear, is about two-to-three weeks away from coming back.
There’s hardly an obvious move to fit one of them. But two? Please. Something fairly significant is going to have to happen.
Sam Freeman was brought up to replace Siegrist but over the last few weeks the KU grad has been absolutely fantastic. Freeman’s given up just one run on three hits in more than eight innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .115 off of him.
How can you send him back to AAA?
So for a bullpen that has Randy Choate, Freeman, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, Jason Motte, Pat Neshek and Seth Maness already here – again, plus Greenwood – it’s going to have to make room for Siegrist and Kelly shortly.
It’s my contention given Freeman’s rise that the Cardinals could elect to trade Randy Choate to alleviate a little bit of the backlog of lefties in the ‘pen. Choate is more of a specialist who can only get out other lefties and isn’t very good against righties.
Freeman gives the Cards more versatility and therefore Mike Matheny more options.
That could be one move. The other? Boy, that’s tough. Does Seth Maness go back to AAA to stretch out as a starter in case there’s a need in the rotation? It’s not like Matheny’s used him much in critical roles of late. Honestly, that’s the only thing I can think of.
Motte’s working his way back to where the Cards know he can be. And he’s getting better. Neshek’s practically an All Star.
Maybe – just maybe – the Cardinals would entertain the idea of sending Martinez back to Memphis to prepare to return to St. Louis as a starter later in the year when a spot will almost undoubtedly open due to either injury or ineffectiveness? Maybe?
No matter what a couple uncomfortable conversations and tough decisions will have to be made. Soon.