The Cardinals went into the offseason with a short shopping list that they felt would help them improve. As deals were made, it became obvious the plan that John Mozeliak had in place and the moves he felt he needed to make to get there.
Moving David Freese, acquiring a defensive-strong center fielder, bringing a strong short stop onto the roster, finding playing time for Kolten Wong and Matt Adams and not sacrificing his young pitching in the process have become the evident goals. It is safe to say that Mozeliak achieved all of those goals with flying colors.
Peter Bourjos was acquired from the Angels, along with a minor league prospect, in exchange for David Freese and Fernando Salas, as summarized by MLB Trade Rumors. Jhonny Peralta was signed to a four-year deal to play shortstop, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The trade of Freese moves Matt Carpenter to third base and allows Kolten Wong to take over the everyday second base position. Carlos Beltran's departure moves Allen Craig to right field and places Matt Adams at first every day.
The team upgraded defensively at second base, third base and center field with the moves. They took a step back in defense at shortstop but made a large jump forward in offensive production at that spot. Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran are seemingly equals defensively in right field, depending on what metric you choose to examine. Craig does provide an upgrade in run production there with the power being replaced by Adams.
It is fair to say that the Cardinals improved their team drastically before the calendar turned from November, 2013. A team that was already the best in the National League, the Cardinals seemed poised to make that final step.