It’s not yet certain just how much center field Carlos Beltran is able to play, but pending a Spring Training that confirms it one way or another the St. Louis Cardinals have topped off their outfield rotation, a process that began the moment Albert Pujols’s departure sent Lance Berkman and his own balky knees back to first base. Depending on Beltran’s mobility Jon Jay should be anywhere from a third-and-a-half to a third-and-three-quarters outfielder, with Allen Craig getting starter-like at-bats once he returns from an offseason surgery.
It’s the perfect move for the Cardinals, who have Craig’s health to worry about in the early going—he’s expected by some to miss most of April, which is when Beltran might be relegated to right field—and the health of Berkman and now Beltran to watch for all season long. Just as they did before Pujols left, the Cardinals now have five starting-caliber hitters for four spots—and they intend, somehow, to start all of them.
If you saw the Cardinals’ disabled list activity last season you’ll know it’s not nearly so farfetched as it sounds.