As St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak heads into his second day of the baseball winter meetings, it must be a nice feeling to hold all of the cards, so to speak. He doesn't have to make a move but can if he sees a great opportunity.
There are no more holes to fill in the everyday lineup and the pitching cupboard is overflowing with arms. Mozeliak has built this team to contend not only in 2014, but well beyond that as well.
Here are some predictions for what could be in store for the Cardinals in the next three years.
No big surprise here, eh?
Michael Wacha turned heads with his dominance toward the end of last season and into the playoffs. The guy is 22 years old and reminds me of how dominant Tim Lincecum once was at such a young age.
Wacha was lights-out the first two rounds of the playoffs in 2013 and is poised for a spot in the starting rotation in 2014. If Jaime Garcia doesn't bounce back from injury as the Cardinals hope, Wacha could very well be the No. 2 starter in the rotation.
Not a bad option to have Adam Wainwright and Wacha as a 1-2 combo.
I would not be surprised to see Wacha put up 16-plus wins in 2013 as he gets his first full MLB season of everyday pitching under his belt.
This guy, if he can stay healthy, is a 20-game winner in the making.
While Trevor Rosenthal wants to be a starter at the big league level, right now he is the Cardinals' closer and a mighty fine one at that.
With 2012 closer Jason Motte coming back from injury in 2014, the Cardinals went ahead and made the announcement that Rosenthal will start the season as their closer.
I think this is smart as you have no idea what you are getting back in a surgically-repaired Jason Motte, plus Motte basically only throws a fastball. Rosenthal certainly relies on his heater, but he has developed some off-speed stuff that will continue to get better in 2014 and make him more dominant.
He is a guy who is capable of a 45-plus save season, year in and year out, if he is used properly.
Will Rosenthal be a Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman? Maybe or maybe not. But as his off-speed pitches continue to sharpen, he will become a dominant closer, and you will know the game is over when he comes in.
The Cardinals have become a club that expects to compete in the postseason year in and year out.
Their records speak to as much seeing as they have played October baseball in 10 of the last 14 seasons, while making four trips to the World Series and winning two of those.
As mentioned, John Mozeliak has done a marvelous job in putting together a team that will contend for a while.
The big pieces (i.e. Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Allen Craig) are all under contract through at least 2016. Add to that the wealth of young talent, such as Matt Carpenter, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Matt Adams and the list goes on for a mile. The Cardinals are set to contend for a while, barring injuries.
Mozeliak has significantly upgraded at shortstop for 2014 and beyond with Jhonny Peralta. Sprinkle in Oscar Taveras' potential talent, and this will be an exciting bunch to watch for the next few seasons.