The Cardinals Roster is Set

Thursday, Joe Mather was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. This leaves the Cardinals' current roster at 25 players making it appear, barring some unforeseen circumstances, these are the guys manager Tony La Russa will go to battle with on April 6.

Mather's demotion came after it looked like the 26-year-old had nailed down the third base position. But his bat failed him down the stretch opening up an opportunity for David Freese.

Mather seemed to be getting his stroke back down the stretch but the team felt he needed some more at-bats at Memphis. The former third round draft pick should not be down for long. Once he finds his rhythm, I look for him to be back to fill the spot of the backup infielder that is struggling at the plate.

With this roster move, it means that two rookies, Colby Rasmus and David Freese, have made the opening day roster. Rasmus, the Cardinals' consensus top prospect, will get plenty of work in the team's four-man outfield rotation. A natural centerfielder, Rasmus will get plenty of action at the corners due to LaRussa's insistence that Ankiel play in center.

The Birdhouse's Minor League Player of the Year, Freese took advantage of Mather's struggles to seal up the third base position. After being sidelined with an Achilles' injury, the St. Louis native has played stellar defense and been productive at the plate.

The 25-year-old Freese is holding down the hot corner until the team's incumbent third baseman, Troy Glaus, returns from shoulder surgery. Latest reports have him out until possibly the All-Star break.

Of the team's 25 players, 13 have made their big league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals if you include the pending debuts' of Rasmus and Freese. Though Ryan Ludwick and Brian Barden made their debuts with other organizations, both have gotten most of their big league experience with the Cardinals. This means that15 players on the 25-man roster were developed by the team, a good start for an organization focusing on player development.

In minor league news, the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold is reporting that the Memphis Redbirds roster will feature six starting pitchers and no, the team is not planning on a six-man rotation. Goold is reporting that the organization is planning on converting Jess Todd to the bullpen something that many scouts had forecasted for the former Arkansas Razorback.

Though reliever Samuel Freeman has been playing with Springfield and Memphis during spring exhibition games, he tells me that he will be breaking camp with the Palm Beach club.

Dustin can reached via email at


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