The Cardinals have informed Matt Carpenter that he’ll be the team’s first baseman entering the 2017 season, GM John Mozeliak told reporters, including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While Carpenter played quite a bit of first base down the stretch in 2016, he also mixed in some appearances at second base and third base as well. That doesn’t seem like it’ll be the case now, as Carpenter appears poised for everyday duties there.
The 2017 alignment will see Kolten Wong take the reins at second base once again with breakout rookie Aledmys Diaz manning shortstop and serving as his double-play partner on a regular basis. That leaves Jhonny Peralta and Jedd Gyorko as third base options, though Mozeliak did note that Gyorko can move around the diamond and Peralta can occasionally spell Diaz at shortstop.
Nonetheless, the Cardinals’ infield arrangement does seem to lend itself to the possibility of trade scenarios. Peralta has already been an oft-speculated trade candidate as he enters the final season of a four-year $53MM contract that will pay him $10MM in 2017. First baseman Matt Adams, whose primary spot has now been filled by Carpenter, could also be shopped around. Neither player figures to have especially high trade value, though. Peralta missed several months in 2016 due to a thumb injury and batted .260/.307/.408 in 313 plate appearances when healthy. He also drew dismal Defensive Runs Saved/Ultimate Zone Rating marks for his work at third base (-7 and -9, respectively, in just 570 innings).
As for Adams, he batted .249/.309/.471 with 16 homers in 327 trips to the plate. While that power output represented the best of Adams’ career on a rate basis, the 28-year-old has poor overall numbers against left-handed pitching in his career (.212/.243/.352) and carries negative value on the basepaths. He’s also spent time on the disabled list due to myriad physical ailments dating back to the 2012 season, including shoulder inflammation (2016), a torn quad (2015), a calf strain (2014) and an oblique strain (2013). Adams has averaged just 107 games/349 plate appearances per season dating back to 2013 and is projected to earn $2.8MM through arbitration next winter. He’s controllable for two more seasons.