The Cardinals’ starting outfield is set heading into 2017, but who will be the backups on the major league club?
Despite the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting outfield is set in stone as spring training gets underway, the outfield could still be one of the areas where the most competition occurs this spring. That’s because beyond returners Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk and free-agent addition Dexter Fowler, the Cardinals don’t have a ton of proven talent. Tommy Pham comes to camp with a good shot to earn a spot, but he’ll face competition from other players, and even if he makes the club, another outfielder could play his way onto the big-league bench with a good spring.
It’s worth noting that this position group could become even more crowded as the spring goes on; GM John Mozeliak expressed a desire to add a lefthanded-hitting outfielder at the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up in January, and while most of the lefty-hitting outfielders are now off the market, it’s possible that the Cards could still take a chance on someone like Sam Fuld, Coco Crisp, or Angel Pagan on a minor-league contract as the spring schedule progresses, especially if Pham and the other candidates for the fourth outfield spot don’t impress early on.
Let’s take a look at how the competition in the Cardinals’ outfield shapes up as spring training gets underway, starting with the players who are locked into spots: