JUPITER, Fla. – The St. Louis Cardinals have set their five-man starting pitcher rotation to start the season and plan to finalize their Opening Day roster by the end of the weekend.
The rotation doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, aside from one key contributor (Adam Wainwright) starting the season on the injured list. The Cardinals will turn to veteran Miles Mikolas for Thursday’s home opener.
Manger Oli Marmol confirmed Friday that St. Louis would roll with this five-man rotation, in order, to start the 2023 season:
- Miles Mikolas
- Jack Flaherty
- Jordan Montgomery
- Jake Woodford
- Steven Matz
Barring any unexpected setbacks, Mikolas, Flaherty and Montgomery will all start in the first home series against the Blue Jays from March 30-April 2. Woodford and Matz will draw the mound in the next two home games against the Atlanta Braves from April 3-4, which lines up Mikolas to pitch in that series finale on April 5. The Cardinals then head to Milwaukee for their first road trip of the season.
Woodford is likely the biggest surprise of the rotation, and he might not have gotten the opportunity without Wainwright’s latest injury and Dakota Hudson’s option to the minors. That said, Woodford was conditioned for a starter’s workload while Mikolas and Wainwright were away from the World Baseball Classic. The 26-year-old fared well in his small sample size, winning one start, striking out 17 over five spring games and stretching out to five frames in his last spring start.
With the rotation set, it seems the Cardinals are getting closer to finalizing their 2023 Opening Day roster. Last week, Marmol said around 34 players were making a case for an Opening Day spot. On Friday, he told MLB.com writer John Denton that number is now at 28. The Cardinals can carry 26 players to start the season, so it seems as if two roster spots are still up for grabs.
St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Derrick Goold reports that the Cardinals hope to have their Opening Day roster finalized by the time they finish their final home spring game on Sunday. The Cardinals will have one more spring matchup in Sarasota, Florida against the Baltimore Orioles after that to wrap up their preseason slate.
The biggest situation worth monitoring is where the team places top prospects Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn. Walker, ranked the fourth-best prospect in baseball, would offer the team a little more power and perhaps some speed in the outfield. Winn makes for an intriguing roster possibility with veteran infielder Paul DeJong likely to start the year on the injured list, but will most likely start the year in Double-A or Triple-A if there’s not quite a path for regular big-league starts.
There are still quite a handful of players who aren’t guaranteed a spot quite yet: For pitchers, Chris Stratton, Packy Naghton, Zack Thompson and JoJo Romero will all be close calls. For hitters, Juan Yepez, Alec Burleson, Kramer Robertson and Taylor Motter could be pushing to secure a platoon or backup role.
Check back for FOX 2 coverage on the Cardinals roster and more developments in the upcoming days leading up to the home opener.