St. Louis Cardinals: 3 Dream Free Agent Pick-Ups in the 2013-14 Offseason
It's time for the offseason shuffle! The St. Louis Cardinals will be among the 30 MLB clubs shaping up their lineups heading into 2014, and the free agent market is the biggest tool at their disposal.
The team made headlines with their young talent this year, but it seems as if trading away the farm system is not in the plans.
"[The] preference of [John] Mozeliak is to not trade away players, but [he's] not close-minded to it," reports Brian Stull of 101 ESPN about the Cardinals general manager.
So which free agents may be wearing the birds on the bat in 2014? This article takes a look at three available players who would most benefit the club in terms of talent and filling in holes on the roster.
*All statistics are current on baseball-reference.com as of November 9, 2013.*
Jhonny Peralta, SS
It's clear that a shortstop is high on the Cardinals' wish list this year, with Pete Kozma becoming a black hole in the lineup throughout the second half of 2013.
Fans have been speculating that general manager Mozeliak may trade away some of the club's young talent to get a better bat, but looking to the free agent market is also an option—and probably a more desirable one.
Perhaps the best free agent at the position is the Tigers' Peralta. He hit .303 with 55 RBI in 2013, although he was suspended for 50 games.
He would definitely be an upgrade from Kozma, rounding out the Cardinals hitters nicely.
Jesse Crain, RHP
Crain had a rough 2013.
He began with an impressive 0.74 ERA in 38 games with the White Sox before falling victim to shoulder issues and landing himself on the DL. He was traded to Tampa Bay, but never threw a pitch for the Rays due to his injury. Now he's in the market for a new team.
The young bullpen was one of the Cardinals' strengths throughout the second half of 2013, but free agent Edward Mujica (who struggled near the end of the year) probably won't be suiting up in a St. Louis uniform again, and a team can never have enough relief help.
Crain would be an excellent addition if he can stay healthy.
Carlos Beltran, OF
Yes, the Cardinals would be happy to re-sign Beltran.
It's difficult to say that Mozeliak shouldn't bring back an All-Star veteran who hit 24 home runs on the year and helped carry a slumping offense through the 2013 playoffs and into the World Series.
He is getting up there in terms of age (he's 36) and is probably starting to think about the DH. But a one-year deal could be extremely beneficial. With so many young players on the team, Beltran's presence in the clubhouse goes a long way, and the Cards could stand to gain more from him at the plate as well.
According to ESPN.com, the Cardinals made him a a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, but aren't optimistic he'll take it.