Found November 30, 2011 on Fox Sports Midwest:
The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals have done little since defeating the Texas Rangers in a thrilling seven-game series that ended almost exactly a month ago. But that will likely change in the near future. General manager John Mozeliak and the Cardinals front office brass will travel to Dallas Sunday for the start of Baseball's Winter Meetings, where they will likely begin to move on a number of different possibilities. In addition to trying to work out a deal with free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, the Cardinals must make decisions at second base, shortstop and in the bullpen. Mozeliak took time out of his busy schedule Tuesday to discuss a number of offseason topics during a Q&A with FOXSportsMidwest.com. FSMidwest: As you get ready to head to Dallas, what are your goals for the Winter Meetings and what do you hope to accomplish? Mozeliak: It's been a very short window to work on some of these things so getting down there and being in that environment where you are in very close quarters to do some of this work I think will be helpful. But on the same token, there's a chance you come out of the meetings with just more knowledge than results. I think when you look at what we're going to do is just what a lot of teams do - touch base with other clubs and see where there might be potential trade fits, spend a lot of time with agents and really try to determine what might work for us in the free agent market. Of course if we can leave there with a good idea or even leave there with the ability to have a few additions made to our roster, that would be good, but again it's more about being able to gain a lot of information mostly. FSMidwest: What can be reasonably expected out of Adam Wainwright next season as he returns from Tommy John surgery? Mozeliak: Well our expectations with him are still to be someone that's going to be part of our rotation. As far as putting an innings amount on it, I think that's a little difficult at this point but we do think he can carry a fairly heavy load going into 2012. FSMidwest: So can you see a scenario where you bring back Edwin Jackson or someone else from outside the organization? Mozeliak: I'm not going to name guys specifically but I don't anticipate that. I think with Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski and even putting Adam Ottavino on the 40-man, I mean if we needed some innings I think we could find it internally. FSMidwest: Where are you right now in terms of finding a shortstop? Mozeliak: We're open to exploring the shortstop market but we also feel like there is some sentiment to give Tyler Greene a chance. Internally, there is a debate on trying to give him that opportunity, give him that job, and we haven't ruled that out. We just want to make sure that we have balance offensively and with the club currently constituted, we do think we could score enough runs and we do think he's a type of offensive player that is a threat at the plate. I do think it would be a nice confidence boost if he just knew the job was his. We can't guarantee it today but its certainly something we're talking about. FSMidwest: What about with second base. Have you made any decisions as far as offering arbitration to Ryan Theriot or Skip Schumaker? Mozeliak: No we haven't and even if we had I don't think we'd be discussing it here. In fairness, obviously Dan Descalso played very well this year and we feel very comfortable if he had to be our second baseman but were also looking at those opportunities and just seeing how best to put the club together. FSMidwest: So would you be OK if both Greene and Descalso stared up the middle? Mozeliak: I mean that's something that if we had to go with it, that would be fine with us. I'm not saying we're going to end up there. I don't think from a fan's standpoint that's quite as attractive as maybe something else but it's certainly an option. FSMidwest: Is there any update on talks with Albert Pujols? Mozeliak: Not really. Obviously I think you're going to see some movement here in the next few weeks but where that ends up, it's very hard for me to handicap or predict. FSMidwest: Is the uncertainty with Pujols limiting what you are able to do in other areas? Mozeliak: It's obviously a lot of resources that would go into that bucket, so yes in the sense that we're not able to move on other fronts but should we not get Albert done I think then we would have resources to explore other things. With that said, I don't feel like we're losing opportunities to date. FSMidwest: Do you have a target date in mind that you would like to have a resolution to his situation one way or another? Mozeliak: No but I mean obviously from a club standpoint, sooner is better than later in the sense that if this thing were to drag say hypothetically into January, I think that would hamper other opportunities down the road. FSMidwest: Is there any concern that if Pujols returns, it will be tough finding enough playing time for Allen Craig? Mozeliak: It would be a concern in the sense that we would have to be creative and looking at places where we could do that. We'd just have to try to get his bat in the lineup more often. But I'll say that if we have to be faced with that problem, I'd be looking forward to it. FSMidwest: How do you look at the bullpen right now? Mozeliak: I think our bullpen has depth right now. Given what we have coming in our system it will also get stronger. There may be some things that we look at in January to add depth to that but I don't think we see anything short term on that now. FSMidwest: There had been some talk about Marc Rzepczynski getting a chance to start but with the five starters under contract, is it fair to assume he will be back in the bullpen in 2012? Mozeliak: I do think so at this point, given the left-handed reliever market is very thin and I think it would be hard to replace two of them. Given who we have as starters right now, I think he's probably a year away before maybe he gets that opportunity. FSMidwest: Lefty reliever Sam Freeman was added to the 40-man roster. Any chance he's the second left-handed reliever in the bullpen or will that person come from outside the organization? Mozeliak: I think wed like to look at that outside. I think Freeman is someone that will probably pitch in the big leagues this year but I don't know if we want to break camp with him necessarily Mozeliak confirmed during the chat that with Gerald Laird signing with the Tigers, the backup catcher in 2012 will be either Bryan Anderson or Tony Cruz. The two will compete in spring training. Mozeliak also said the club has interest in retaining free agent infielder Nick Punto.
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