The St. Louis Cardinals closed out the regular season last year with the best record in the National League, going 97-65 to best the Pittsburgh Pirates by three games and Cincinnati Reds by seven games.
They went on to capture the NL pennant, before falling to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series in six games. It was the team's seventh postseason appearance in the past 10 years and its fourth NL pennant.
The team didn't have much to do this offseason, but it worked quickly to fill the biggest hole on its roster. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta was signed to a four-year, $53 million deal, and he should be a significant upgrade considering the team's shortstops hit a combined .222/.280/.303 last year.
David Freese was then shipped to the Los Angeles Angels for center fielder Peter Bourjos. That allows the team to slide Matt Carpenter to third base and opens things up for prospect Kolten Wong to have an everyday job at second.
A full season of Michael Wacha in the rotation should make the staff that much better, and with a wealth of young arms it has not shortage of depth.
Top prospect Oscar Taveras missed significant time with an ankle injury last year, but he is back healthy this spring and could make a run at an everyday job by midseason. That would presumably push Allen Craig back to first base and Matt Adams to the bench.
For now, the team is in Jupiter, Fla., getting ready for the season ahead, as it looks to get over the hump and win it all in 2014. We'll use the following space to track the latest game results and other key news on a daily basis, so be sure to check back here for all the latest Cardinals news leading up to Opening Day.