QUESTION: If there is a continuing downward slide with Carpenter and Fowler at their ages, will the Cardinals: (a) give ample playing time to younger players vs sticking it out with the two of them due to the short season; and (b) if that occurs, how will this impact 2021 with the two of them at their ages and their sizable contracts?
COMMISH: The Cardinals will start the season with Carpenter and Fowler in regular roles. But they can’t afford to dance too long with either if production isn’t there because of the much-shortened season.
How long you stay with them is a gray area because it has to be a “feel” with manager Mike Shildt and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. Remember that Fowler actually had a good year going last year (he finished with a career-high 19 homers) until September. He wasn’t very good in February and March this year (3 for 31 at the plate), although that was spring training.
With the DH for every game this year, there always is the option of spotting either of the above in that role. Next year, when those players’ contracts expire, is another consideration that the Cardinals aren’t particularly concerned about now. They’re trying to get this season ramped up.