One of the more interesting (and surprising) storylines to emerge from Winter Warm-Up weekend was Matt Carpenter’s impending return to the Cardinal batting order’s No. 3 spot.
Interesting because it gives us an glimpse of what the top half of the lineup may look like; surprising because Carpenter is a historically stellar leadoff man. In fact, as Bernie Miklasz wrote this offseason, the longtime Cardinal has a career .878 OPS while hitting at the top.
As Bernie signed off in the above link: “No need to overthink this, Mike (Matheny).”
On the contrary, why not embrace it?
“It seems like the Cardinals, and Matt Carpenter as well, always kind of make the wrong argument,” our insider Jen Langosch tells the Bernie Show. “And that’s trying to defend why he hasn’t hit well elsewhere instead of emphasizing what he’s really good at.
“Instead of obsessing over, ‘Well, he can hit other places in the order and here are the reasons he hasn’t before and we believe there’s potential there,’ why not just embrace the fact that he’s been one of the best leadoff hitters in the game over the last six years and run with it?”
It’s understandable why Matheny would like a solid mid-order lefty bat with so many righties around, but why move a guy from a spot he’s thrived in throughout his career? Langosch goes on to say Marcell Ozuna’s addition should provide enough mid-order reinforcement.
“You have some depth there to lengthen out your lineup,” she says. “So I’m not sure why they feel this constant need to fix something that’s not broken. And, of course, it’s going to be a storyline going into the season the minute Matt Carpenter has three or four bad games.
“I can’t explain why he hasn’t had the same success hitting somewhere else as he has hitting first. It doesn’t make sense to me,” she adds. “But I just don’t understand the need to kind of tinker with something that has been so good for so many years.”
You can listen to Langosch’s entire talk below where she also discusses Luke Gregerson as the new team closer.
Stay tuned to 101ESPN and 101Sports.com for plenty of Cardinals roster talk as spring approaches.