St. Louis Cardinals Announce 25-Man Postseason Roster for NLDS


On Thursday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals announced their 25-man roster for their National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs, which starts on Friday at Busch Stadium.

Unquestionably, the most pleasant news for the Cardinals is the fact that catcher Yadier Molina is healthy enough to be part of the playoff roster and will be in the starting lineup on Friday. Molina had not played since September 20 after tearing a ligament in his thumb. Some expected the Cardinals to carry a third catcher as insurance in case Molina re-aggravated his injury during the NLDS, but Tony Cruz will be the only backup catcher on the roster for this round.

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Besides Molina’s presence, the fact that GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny were willing to leave several established veterans off the roster was also notable. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the omission of righthanded reliever Steve Cishek, the former Miami Marlins closer who was the Cardinals’ first acquisition during trade deadline season. Cishek, who had a 2.31 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, and a .212 opponent batting average in 27 appearances, just didn’t get used a whole lot after being acquired and showed a lack of composure in several situations. He inherited five runners as a Cardinal, three of whom ended up scoring, and hitters had an unbelievable 1.488 OPS against him. Cishek also allowed a career-high 0.65 home runs per nine innings, with a dreadful 0.77 homers per nine as a Cardinal.

Cishek still has two arbitration years left in which to prove his worth to the Cardinals, but for now the move to get him isn’t looking great. The pitcher that the Cardinals traded to get Cishek, Kyle Barraclough, quickly reached the majors with the Marlins and went on to have a 2.59 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and .154 opponent average over 25 appearances. Barraclough showed an impressive amount of poise for Miami, stranding 12 of 14 inherited runners.

Also left off the roster was lefty reliever Randy Choate, who frankly had pitched himself out of a role with a poor second half. Choate set the all-time MLB record for most games pitched in a season without retiring a batter (20), and he allowed lefties to hit .265 against him. That’s not terrible, but is not acceptable for a pitcher that faced just 23 righthanded batters all season, with his righthanded opponents accumulating a .820 OPS against him. Tyler Lyons and Kevin Siegrist will handle all the necessary “lefty specialist” duties for now, though Kyle Schwarber (.143 average against LHP) is really the only Cubs lefty hitter worth bringing in a lefthander for.

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On the position player side, first baseman Matt Adams, infielder Pete Kozma, and outfielder Peter Bourjos were all left off the roster. Adams, the Cardinals’ opening day first baseman, returned to the roster in early September following three-plus months of inactivity, and while he hit a respectable .292 with a homer and two doubles after returning, he evidently did not prove his healthiness well enough to earn a spot on the roster. Instead, the more versatile and mobile Brandon Moss earned a job.

Kozma, who hit .152, had no extra-base hits, and had a dreadful .388 OPS while collecting just 99 at-bats despite being on the active roster for all 162 games, simply could not keep his job by providing nothing but adequate defense at shortstop. He was passed up by his lefthanded-hitting counterpart, Greg Garcia, who hit .240/.337/.387 with two homers and four RBI in 75 at-bats.

Realistically, it had been clear for over a month that Bourjos wasn’t going to earn a spot on the playoff roster. He had just 46 at-bats after the All-Star break, and he wasn’t even able to get starts in center field ahead of guys like Jason Heyward, who hadn’t played center since 2o13, Stephen Piscotty, who had just four Triple-A appearances in center to his credit before receiving a start there in August, and Jon Jay, who clearly still isn’t himself as he struggles with the after-effects of offseason wrist surgery.

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  • Speaking of Jay, it could be inferred that he was going to be on the postseason roster due to Matheny’s continued usage of him during September, but it was still just a bit surprising to see him make it because of his career-worst .210 batting average and .563 OPS and his total loss of power and baserunning skill (one home run and no stolen bases during 2015). It should be interesting to see how Jay gets used with five other outfielders, including a comparable but healthier player in Tommy Pham, on the roster.

    Here’s the complete roster breakdown:

    Pitchers (11): Michael Wacha, John Lackey, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Seth Maness, Jonathan Broxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Seigrist, Tyler Lyons, Carlos Villanueva, Adam Wainwright

    Catchers (2): Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz

    Infielders (6): Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss, Kolten Wong, Greg Garcia, Jhonny Peralta, Matt Carpenter

    Outfielders (6): Randal Grichuk, Matt Holliday, Jason Heyward, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, Jon Jay

    Active MLB players left off roster (11): Matt Belisle, Randy Choate, Steve Cishek, Mitch Harris, Miguel Socolovich, Sam Tuivailala, Ed Easley, Travis Tartamella, Matt Adams, Pete Kozma, Peter Bourjos

    Next: Cardinals vs. Cubs: Start Time, Broadcast Info, & More