John Mozeliak’s offseason shopping list is rather lengthy. Remember, the Cardinals finished fourth in the National League Central, and although they stayed competitive late into the season, it’s not as if they were only a player or two away from making the playoffs.
Mo has his work cut out for him this winter. He has to find upgrades at both middle infield positions. He’d like to add the elusive “protection” for Albert Pujols in the lineup. And the Cards obviously need help in the bullpen, especially of the left handed variety, as well as the ninth inning. Depending on the status of former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, a starting pitcher might be on the list of needs as well.
Of all the needs, it’s my opinion that pitching is the most important. Although some intriguing names are looming in the free agent pool, they won’t come cheap. There’s no way that the Cards are going to sign any of the top tier free agent pitchers. If the club is going to spend any money on free agents, it would probably be on a left handed reliever.
I doubt they’ll want to commit big dollars and multiple years to the attractive middle infield options. More than likely, the bulk of the holes will have to be filled via trade.
It’s always fun this time of year to sift through the tornado of trade winds, trying to speculate what the club will look like come Opening Day. In the coming weeks, I’ll discuss the various rumors and look at viable options at each of the positions of need. Hopefully by the time we’re ready to fill out line up cards, Mo should have us ready to start printing playoff tickets.