Doubtful: Matt Holliday, Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, Jordan Walden, Mike Mayers, Dean Anna, Anthony Garcia, Ryan Sherriff
Matt Holliday is hoping to get back at some point this season after suffering a broken thumb earlier this month, but considering the Cardinals’ experience last season with trying to bring him back in late September, perhaps it’s best for the team to just play out the campaign without Holliday.
After returning from a quad strain on September 15 last year, Holliday hit .182 with no walks, then hit .125 with no extra-base hits during the playoffs. With the Brandon Moss-Randal Grichuk-Stephen Piscotty outfield performing very well and Tommy Pham and Jeremy Hazelbaker playing capably as backups, there’s not really an obvious need for Holliday right now, and though he’s done a ton for this franchise over the past eight seasons, his desires can’t get in the way of what’s best for the ballclub.
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Though Lance Lynn has impressed in three rehab starts over the past 10 days, the Cardinals still seem to be against the idea of him returning to the big-league club in September as a reliever. Lynn could be an upgrade over guys like Jonathan Broxton and Jerome Williams, but for some reason, the Cardinals don’t want to take any risks with Lynn, even though he’s shown that he’s capable of pitching in games again.
Trevor Rosenthal just began throwing again, and it’s pretty clear that he’s not going to progress quickly enough to take part in a minor-league rehab assignment. It’d seemingly be irresponsible on the Cardinals’ part to try and bring Rosenthal, who dealt with major control issues and inconsistency this year, back without giving him an opportunity to recover his form on a lesser stage.
Michael Wacha is hoping to begin a throwing program within the next week, and he’s probably more likely to come back in a bullpen role this year than Rosenthal is. But like Rosenthal, he’s not going to get up to speed quickly enough to participate in a rehab assignment, and considering his struggles this season, perhaps it’s better to just let him take it easy for the rest of the year and hope to get him back at full strength next season.
Jordan Walden has continued to recover at a snail’s pace over the past year-and-a-half, and the fact that he failed to go on a scheduled rehab assignment last week spoke volumes. Considering that GM John Mozeliak expressed optimism that guys with more severe injuries–such as Rosenthal, Wacha, and Holliday–would return this year, yet called Walden’s return “a long shot”, it’s pretty safe to say that the 28-year-old reliever won’t pitch in the major leagues this season.
Mike Mayers only got a 40-man roster spot in the first place so that he could make a spot start on July 24, and that went horribly wrong, as he allowed nine earned runs over 1 1/3 innings. There’s nothing of value that he’d contribute to the team during September, so there’s no reason to bring him back. In fact, he could be a potential 40-man roster casualty if the Cardinals need to create space for other players.
The case is mostly the same for infielder Dean Anna, who has been on the 40-man for two full seasons but has spent just six days in the big leagues and received one at-bat. Since the 29-year-old Anna has posted a mediocre .264/.343/.340 slash line at Memphis this year, it’s a reasonable assumption that his 40-man spot will go to someone else when rosters expand.
On the other hand, outfielder Anthony Garcia is probably safe as it pertains to keeping his 40-man spot, but the 24-year-old probably won’t get a call up after mostly struggling in his first extended go-round in Triple-A. The Cardinals already have a lot of outfield depth, and Jose Martinez is likely ahead of Garcia in the pecking order if they decide that they need more.
Aside from Breyvic Valera and possibly slugger David Washington, who’s hit 28 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this year, the only really deserving candidate for a call-up from outside the 40-man roster is lefty reliever Ryan Sherriff, who has a 2.86 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and .251 opponent batting average this year. But since the Cardinals will already have Kevin Siegrist, Zach Duke, and Dean Kiekhefer as lefties in their bullpen and will likely be trying to avoid placing guys like Rosenthal, Wacha, and Holliday on the 60-day DL in case they come back late in the season, it doesn’t seem exceptionally likely that Sherriff will get a promotion. If the team gets to a point where it’s a sure thing that Wacha and Rosenthal aren’t going to return, perhaps they’ll reconsider, as the bullpen actually could use some extra depth, but as September 1 looms Sherriff doesn’t seem to have the greatest odds of getting called up.