How Does Oscar Taveras Fit into Cardinals' Plans for 2014?

Jeff SucherContributor IIIOctober 11, 2013

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Oscar Taveras #87 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a grand slam home run in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium on February 28, 2013 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

As the St. Louis Cardinals continue their quest for their 12th World Series championship, they have a pretty solid outfield helping lead the charge.  

Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran all had pretty good seasons, and they all played a factor in helping the Cardinals into their current position.

But after the season is over—and let's be honest, all Cardinal fans are hoping for it to not be over until after Halloween—the Cardinals have some tough decisions to make regarding their outfield for 2014.

Enter Oscar Taveras.  Although Taveras had a tough 2013 campaign regarding his health, he is expected to make a full recovery from his ankle issues and be ready to go in 2014.

So the question of what to do with Carlos Beltran will become a very pressing one once the free-agency period starts at the end of the season.  Beltran exceeded mine and many other Cardinals fans' expectations with his 2012-2013 performances.

Beltran has played well enough in those two seasons to command another decent payday whether with the Cardinals or elsewhere.  

My guess is Beltran will receive offers from other teams that the Cardinals won't be willing to match, especially with Taveras in the wings.

Taveras has done his time in the minor leagues and appears ready to be given a chance to compete for an everyday job.  In his limited playing time in 2013, Taveras batted .306 with five home runs and 32 RBI in 46 games for AAA Memphis.

If the Cardinals do for some reason re-sign Beltran, Taveras would almost certainly be the fourth outfielder to start the 2014 season and Shane Robinson would most likely be traded.  Also in the scenario where Beltran would be re-signed, Taveras could very well push Jon Jay for his starting position in center field should Jay fail to start the 2014 campaign.

So no matter what way you shuffle the deck for the 2014 outfield for the St. Louis Cardinals, Oscar Taveras will be somewhere in that mix and pushing to make his talents known.