Matt Adams just might be adding some more versatility this season.
While it hasn’t been much of an issue since he’s served as the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting first baseman for the majority of the past three seasons, Matt Adams is clearly one of the team’s least versatile players. Adams has never played a professional inning at any other position besides first base, and considering the fact that he’s 6-foot-3 and has generally weighed in at 260 pounds or greater in the past, it hasn’t really made sense to play him anywhere else.
As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Derrick Goold first reported on Twitter Saturday morning, though, Adams is working to add some versatility as he transitions to a bench role in 2017:
While the Cardinals probably won’t have too many issues with outfield depth this season, seeing as they’ll have starters Dexter Fowler, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and one of either José Martínez or Tommy Pham on the 25-man roster, it usually can’t hurt to have flexibility (with one of the rare exceptions being the 2016 Cardinals squad).
More from Arch Authority
- St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk to begin Double-A rehab stint
- John Brebbia deserves a shot as the St. Louis Cardinals’ closer
- St. Louis Cardinals place Randal Grichuk on DL, recall José Martínez
- St. Louis Cardinals release RHP Corey Baker from organization
- St. Louis Cardinals activate Kolten Wong and Kevin Siegrist from DL, option Luke Weaver and Alex Mejia to Triple-A
To avoid the embarrassments that last season created, though, such as Kolten Wong having to play the outfield, it’s good to have a full-time bench player that is capable of serving as an emergency backup in the outfield.
Besides, it makes sense for Adams to add more versatility anyway if he’s not going to be a starter anymore. Adams is a player who’s always been limited to first base, and as if that didn’t limit his value enough, he’s basically just a righty-mashing specialist, as he’s hit only .212 with a .595 OPS against lefties during his big-league career. Even though he’s a great pinch hitter (.330 batting average with seven homers in that role), he’ll have trouble sticking in the big leagues long term if all he can do is play a mediocre first base and hit righties with slightly above-average power.
If Adams can play a passable left field, he’ll be able to increase his value to the Cardinals by keeping Wong or Matt Carpenter from having to fill the emergency fifth outfielder role. He’ll also increase his value when he ultimately hits free agency, because as guys like Chris Carter and Pedro Alvarez showed this offseason, first basemen with questionable defensive skills aren’t too valuable anymore unless they’re transcendent offensive talents.
If he can add that new skill, it’ll be great for both him and the Cardinals. If not…well, it will be like most spring training versatility experiments.