Found November 29, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
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 their needs are only complementary, a big difference from a year ago. Both Kyle Lohse and Lance Berkman are free agents but the Cardinals are unlikely to pursue resigning either. Lohse will likely command at least a four-year contract for upwards up 60 million dollars and the Cardinals have a plethora of younger and cheaper arms waiting to fill his spot. Berkman played in just 31 games for the Cardinals last year and hasn't decided whether or not he wants to play again in 2013. After making 12 million from the Cardinals this past season and with no real spot to play (Allen Craig at first and Carlos Beltran in right), there doesn't figure to be a match for him either. The Cardinals biggest need comes for a left-handed reliever to team with Marc Rzepczynski. The lefty struggled in his first full season with the Cardinals, but part of that could have been related to the lack of a quality second left-handed option to work along side him. Veteran J.C. Romero was released following a rough stretch in May and rookie Sam Freeman struggled during limited appearances down the stretch. Rzepczynski was the only left-hander on the Cardinals' playoff roster. The lefty relief market doesn't figure to be cheap. The Giants re-signed lefty Jeremy Affeldt to a three-year, 18 million deal. The Nationals' Sean Burnett, regarded as the next best available lefty reliever, turned down a 3.5 million option for 2013, instead electing for free agency. "We knew going in that the lefty relief market wasn't a great place to be shopping in the sense of there's just not a lot of them out there," Mozeliak said. "As we look at a lot of our options, it may come from trade. It might be a little premature to just determine where exactly that's going to come from, but we're still interested in finding one." Potentially cheaper lefty relief options in free agency include Mike Gonzalez and Randy Choate if they decide not to make a trade. The Cardinals originally thought they would need to find a shortstop this winter with Rafael Furcal dealing with a serious elbow injury. But a recent MRI showed that his tear had completely healed and he expects to be 100 percent by spring training. Starter Jaime Garcia is progressing nicely from a shoulder injury and the Cardinals plan for him to have a normal spring training as well. They don't plan to add any additional pitching depth this winter. "I think from a strategic standpoint on the pitching side, I think we have enough depth that should something not go as planned, we should still be OK," Mozeliak said. "Having said that, you don't want to go into this where your taking an unnecessary risk, but that's why he's somebody that we're just going to keep paying attention too all winter. "He'll have a normal rehab. Basically December shut down, begin a throwing program in January." In addition to searching for a potential right-handed power option for the bench, the club has yet to name an assistant hitting coach. Last year's assistant hitting coach John Mabry was promoted to hitting coach when Mark McGwire left for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And at some point, the Cardinals may find it productive to engage Adam Wainwright and his agent in contract negotiations to keep the ace in St. Louis long term. The right-hander is set to become a free agent after 2013 season.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

La Russa video game funding strikes out

Tony La Russa is hitting home runs seemingly each day this off-season as he makes the pre-Holiday rounds of bookstore signings and radio interviews. By accounts, his remembrances of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2011 World Championship season, “One Last Strike,” is very popular with baseball book-buying fans. In the near-term at least, another of La Russa’s retirement projects...

Don’t assume quiet ahead because no Cardinals non-tenders

The St. Louis Cardinals have five players with between three and six years of major league service who were not already under contract for 2013. All five – relievers Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte, Edward Mujica and Marc Rzepczynski, plus third baseman David Freese – are eligible to have their salary for next season decided via arbitration. The first step was on the Cardinals...

Taveras, Maness receive minor league honors

ST. LOUIS, Mo. The St. Louis Cardinals announced their 2012 Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year, awarding outfielder Oscar Taveras with the Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Seth Maness with the Pitcher of the Year. It was the first annual award won by either of the players. The Springfield Cardinals were also honored by Baseball America as their Minor League Team...

Molina charity softball benefit to feature Cardinals stars

Many people think “spring break” or NASCAR racing when the city of Daytona Beach is mentioned. This Saturday and Sunday, however, the popular Florida area will be hosting a 16-team slow pitch softball tournament with a very unique grand prize awarded the following weekend. The winner of the amateur competition, called “Brawl at the Beach” will get to face a team of Major...

Springfield Cardinals Named Team of the Year

Springfield Cardinals Named Team of the Year Baseball America Tabs Springfield as Top Minor League Team in 2012 November 30th, 2012 Springfield, MO – The Springfield Cardinals have been named by Baseball America as the Minor League Team of the Year in 2012. Springfield captured their first Texas League Crown by defeating the Tulsa Drillers in the North Division Finals in five...

Cardinals announce spring training schedule

ST. LOUIS The St. Louis Cardinals announced their 2013 Spring Training schedule today. The teams 32-game Grapefruit League slate begins on Saturday, February 23, at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., against their complex co-tenants, the Miami Marlins, and concludes March 29, before heading to Arizona to begin the regular season on April 1 at the Diamondbacks. The Cardinals Grapefruit...

United Cardinal Blogger Awards Ballot 2012

Every year the group known as the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) come together to vote for a bevy or year-end awards.  In the interest of transparency  each member posts their ballot live to the masses with explanations for their choices.  What follows is i70baseball’s entry in the 2012 awards voting. Player Of The Year Nominated: Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday...

Cardinals set 2013 spring training schedule

The St. Louis Cardinals will play 32 games in Florida in the spring, including 20 in Jupiter.

Taveras, Maness win Cards top 2012 awards

Springfield teammates Oscar Taveras and Seth Maness named by the St. Louis Cardinals organization as the top player and pitcher in the minor league system for 2012.

40 Days, 40 Nights, 40 Cards Prospects: 2013

Our eighth annual countdown starts Monday, December 3. Over a 40-day period, we unveil our top prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system for 2013.
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.