Adam Kennedy, who had been more or less the regular the last two years -- at least at the start of the season -- technically still is with the team, as is valuable backup Aaron Miles. But the Cardinals have said they would try to accommodate Kennedy's trade request, and they think of Miles more as a super utility man.
If Felipe Lopez signs back as a free agent, he surely would be the starter, as he was in the last month of the 2008 season. He finished with a .385 average in 43 games with the Cardinals.
Lopez then would succeed Kennedy, who succeeded Hector Luna/Ronnie Belliard (2006), who succeeded Mark Grudzielanek (2005), who succeeded Tony Womack (2004), who succeeded Fernando Vina/Bo Hart (2003).
The Cardinals missed the playoffs the last two seasons, but they went to the World Series with Womack, to the National League Championship Series with Grudzielanek and won the World Series in 2006 when Luna started the season and then gave way ultimately to July acquisition Belliard.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--While the Cardinals and LHP Trever Miller tried to work out contract language before Miller would sign with the club as a free agent, the team was also negotiating with LHP Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes, 39, held left-handed batters to a .157 average last season while pitching for Seattle and Florida.
--RHP Mike Parisi, who was 0-4 with the Cardinals but 8-2 at Class AAA Memphis last season, was outrighted to Memphis. Parisi will miss most, if not all, of the 2009 season after having Tommy John elbow surgery.
--Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, who was interviewed for the Seattle managing job but didn't get it, will manage the Puerto Rican squad for a second time in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
--Longtime Cardinals scout Fred McAlister, who was the scouting director from 1980-93, died at age 80 in the Houston area. "He was one of the best judges of amateur talent in the history of the game," said former Cardinals manager/general manager Whitey Herzog, who installed McAlister as his scouting director. McAlister was with the Cardinals' organization from 1945, when he signed out of high school.
--Free agent RHP Jason Isringhausen and the Cardinals still are talking. The reliever is coming off elbow surgery, but his agent, Dan Horwits, said, "What he would like to be is the closer for the Cardinals."
BY THE NUMBERS: 714 -- Major league appearances for LHP Arthur Rhodes, a free agent who was in discussions with the Cardinals.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have so much respect for (the Cardinals) that I have and will keep them in the loop." -- Agent Barry Meister, talking about negotiations with free agent SS Edgar Renteria, whom the Cardinals and Giants both covet.
TEAM REPORT: Roster Report
FREE AGENTS: OF Juan Encarnacion, SS Cesar Izturis, INF Felipe Lopez, RHP Jason Isringhausen, RHP Braden Looper, LHP Ron Villone, LHP Mark Mulder, RHP Russ Springer.
The Cardinals have largest interest in re-signing Lopez and some interest in Looper, Izurtis and Isringhausen.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: OF Rick Ankiel, OF Ryan Ludwick, INF Aaron Miles, LHP Randy Flores, LHP Tyler Johnson, RHP Todd Wellemeyer.
Ankiel, Miles and Wellemeyer are the most significant cases because all can be free agents at the end of next season. Ankiel and Wellemeyer, especially, could command big money.
IN LIMBO: 2B Adam Kennedy already has asked to be traded and will be accommodated. OF Chris Duncan might be dealt, too, but he was sidelined with a disk problem in his neck in the second half of the season and must prove he is healthy before the club would consider moving him. INF Brendan Ryan appears to have worn out his welcome, and RHP Joel Pineiro could be moved if the Cardinals acquire starting pitching help.
RHP Chris Carpenter (sore right shoulder, right elbow surgery in November 2008) didn't have a clear timetable for his return following the elbow procedure.
1B Albert Pujols (nerve transposition surgery on right elbow in October 2008) should be ready for the start of spring training.
RHP Jason Isringhausen (flexor tendon surgery in September 2008) already was rehabbing before the season ended.
OF Rick Ankiel (abdominal surgery in September 2008) was recovering at season's end.
OF Joe Mather (left wrist surgery in September 2008) should be ready for spring training.
OF Chris Duncan (neck surgery in August 2008) should be ready for spring training.
LHP Randy Flores (left shoulder surgery in September 2008) should be ready for spring training.
LHP Jaime Garcia (Tommy John elbow surgery in September 2008) likely will miss all or nearly all of the 2009 season.
LHP Tyler Johnson (left shoulder surgery in May 2008) missed the rest of the 2008 season.