QUESTION: If Lane Thomas lights it up in spring training and Harrison Bader flounders, who is starting in center field on opening day?
GOOLD: Harrison Bader likely would be, but the clock would be ticking, especially if Lane Thomas continues to have success in the minors.
As we've discussed in previous chats, Bader's playing time is not entirely linked to his own performance. The Cardinals need offense from the outfielders flanking him to make carrying a glove-first center fielder possible, and that's what Bader can be even if he struggles at the plate, and that would get him into the opening day lineup. But if offensive struggles persist throughout the outfield, the Cardinals would opt for a change, a jolt, and if Thomas is performing, that could be Thomas.