ST. LOUIS A year ago, Cardinals manager John Mozeliak spent nearly his entire time at the winter meetings in Dallas negotiating with the agent for Albert Pujols.
And it was there, on the final Thursday morning just as the Rule 5 Draft was getting ready to start, when he received a call that Pujols had decided to sign with the Anaheim Angels.
Mozeliak quickly and quietly departed the hotel and headed for the airport, returning to St. Louis with a fairly important shopping list. He needed to find a middle of the lineup power bat to replace Pujols and a shortstop.
Neither the suspense nor heartbreak will happen this time around when baseball's general managers, owners and club personnel convene in Nashville, Tenn., beginning Sunday for the annual winter meetings.
The wish list is much smaller for Mozeliak and the Cardinals. They'd like to find a left-handed reliever, either through free agency or a trade. And they could use a right-handed hitter with some power for the bench. But ...