St. Louis Cardinals general
manager John Mozeliak's Plan A as he went to baseball's winter meetings was to
re-sign free agent first baseman Albert Pujols. But, with other Cardinals free
agents, such as shortstop Rafael Furcal, in limbo until Pujols either signs or
leaves, Mozeliak had to have a Plan B, too.
"I don't feel like right
now everything outside of Albert's situation is urgent," said
"That said, the one
takeaway we have to have in the next couple of weeks is what is the likelihood
of us getting something done (with Pujols). I think directionally, that's we're
has said his client wants to play alongside Pujols again and is willing to wait,
to a point. Reliever Octavio Dotel, a key figure in the Cardinals' stretch run
to the World Series championship, is in the same boat.
"Dotel would like to be a
Cardinal," said Dotel's agent, Dan Horwits. "Obviously, the Cardinals have some
other contracts to address first, and we understand that."
Mozeliak summarized the
situation, mostly pertaining to Furcal, thusly:
"It's about if we can
retain Albert, then we're going to look like 'X.' If we can't, we'll go in this
direction. The risk is, yes, if you want too long for resolution (on Pujols),
then there could be some opportunities that go away.
"If we had to wake up and
give (shortstop) Tyler Greene an opportunity, we would be comfortable with
LHP J.C. Romero, let go
by Philadelphia during the season, has heard from
the Cardinals. The Cardinals are looking for a veteran left-handed reliever to
go with young Marc Rzepczynski.
RHP Shelby Miller was
named the organization's minor leaguer pitcher of the year for the second year
in succession. Miller, who was 11-6 with a 2.77 earned run average in 25 starts
for Class A Palm Beach and Class AA Springfield, might start at either Springfield or Class AAA
Memphis next season. But Miller, 21, isn't far away from the majors. "I think
he'll tell us where he needs to be at the end of spring training," said farm
director John Vuch.
1B Matt Adams, who set a
Class AA Springfield record with 32 homers and also hit .300, was named the
organization's minor league player of the year. Adams would learn to become an outfielder if 1B Albert
Pujols is re-signed. If not, he ranks as a first base candidate for 2013. "We
feel he's going to be a major league level hitter," farm director John Vuch
1B Albert Pujols had
offers only from the Miami Marlins and Cardinals before the winter meetings
began although the Chicago Cubs were a third team to express interest. It
appeared agent Dan Lozano and Pujols wouldn't make any decisions until the
winter meetings, where Lozano hoped to receive more
SS Jimmy Rollins might be
someone the Cardinals would seek if 1B Albert Pujols isn't re-signed. The
longtime Philadelphia star would seem a more reliable
fit than the several players the Cardinals employed at shortstop in
RHP Lance Lynn and OF
Adron Chambers, who were with the Cardinals for less than half the season, were
awarded full shares of the club's World Series pie because they appeared on the
postseason roster for one or more series.
BY THE NUMBERS: $323,170
- What a full World Series share was worth for the 51 full shares awarded by the
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It seems
like things are lined up so that there can be this crescendo at the
- GM John Mozeliak, on the
negotiation process with free agents, notably 1B Albert
The Cardinals are coming off a
World Series title, but general manager John Mozeliak realizes the big
turnaround in the season came in late July and early August when the club
changed 20 percent of its roster with five additions. There will be no standing
pat, and that trend began three days after the World Series ended when manager
Tony La Russa retired after 16 seasons.
C Gerald Laird (free agent, signed
The top priority, after naming new
manager Mike Matheny, is re-signing 1B Albert Pujols, the cream of the free
agent class. Secondarily, the Cardinals need to address their shortstop-second
base situation, which finished with Rafael Furcal, whose option was not picked
up, at short and Skip Schumaker, who is arbitration-eligible, at second.
Mozeliak has indicated interest in Furcal but at a much lower figure than $12
million. Schumaker, a converted outfielder, has improved at second base, but the
Cardinals might not want to pay to keep both.
1B Albert Pujols, RHPs
Edwin Jackson and Octavio Dotel, SS Rafael Furcal, OF Corey Patterson, INF Nick Punto, LHP Arthur Rhodes.
Every effort will be made
to re-sign Pujols. Furcal and Dotel command interest by the Cardinals, but they
won't be able to give Jackson a long-term deal. Rhodes is next most likely to be sought after by the
Cardinals, but there won't be much money for him.
2B/OF Skip Schumaker, RHP
Kyle McClellan. INF Ryan Theriot.
All, in theory, could be
non-tendered. McClellan is the most likely to dealt. Either Schumaker or Theriot
won't be back, and possibly both.
RHP Kyle McClellan, who moved back
to the bullpen when Jackson was acquired, is in competition with
several young right-handed relievers who are less expensive. He wouldn't go back
to the rotation, either, with the expected return of RHP Adam Wainwright, who
missed 2011 with Tommy John elbow surgery. INF Tyler Greene, who had a strong
Class AAA performance and who was going to get a late season look until the
Cardinals got back into playoff contention, could be a trade candidate if the
club doesn't figure to have a role for him. In limited duty with the Cardinals,
Greene led the club in steals with 11 (in 11 attempts).
RHP Adam Wainwright is
expected to go to Jupiter, Fla., just after Jan. 1 to begin throwing in
earnest. He expects to be ready for spring training.
Matt Holliday might need his right hand, injured twice late in the season,