Cardinals fans were feeling pretty good about the upcoming 2017 season when it was announced that Alex Reyes would be having Tommy John surgery, taking him out of the equation. The rest of the rotation includes Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake and Lance Lynn, fresh off of Tommy John surgery. Since Reyes was likely getting that fifth spot in the rotation, this leaves a spot to be filled. So who gets it?
Michael Wacha’s name has been brought up, but his performance last season was a little rough. He is already looking much stronger and performing better than last season. Depending on how the rest of spring training goes, he could be reclaiming that starting spot.
There is also Marco Gonzales, a name we have not heard in a while. He missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery in April 2016. He took the mound for the first time after having surgery on February 10th. Even before having Tommy John surgery, he had quite a few injuries. If he can stay healthy and perform well, he might get a shot at some starts.
Luke Weaver made his debut as a starting pitcher last season, so he could very well start a few games for the Cardinals. He is expected to perform well in Memphis in the upcoming season, but is probably one of the first names that will get called back up to pitch if need be.
Mike Mayers is another name to toss around, despite the less than stellar first impression he made during his debut last season. Mayers is seemingly off to a better start, having taken a win for one of the spring training games against the Marlins.
Trevor Rosenthal is another name to toss in the ring. After Seung-Hwan Oh’s performance last season, it’s not likely that Rosenthal will regain the closing position. Mike Matheny has been planning to let the former closer try his hand at being a starter during spring training. He was supposed to start earlier this week, but was scratched due to lat inflammation. He was sent out for an MRI, which came back negative. He is expected to pitch in one the games this weekend, assuming everything goes well.
Assuming Wacha performs well in spring training, there is a pretty big chance that he will claim that spot. This chance, however, comes under the assumption that he can stay healthy and off the DL. Fans have yet to see Rosenthal as a starting pitcher, but that is a very real possibility. There are other adjustments to make, but finishing up the rotation is an important one. The team needs solid pitchers if they want to make it back to the postseason, as well as some run support from the rest of the team.