Cardinals Have Work To Do

Joe Strauss has had several insightful articles lately about the future of the Cardinals.  Let’s discuss.

  • The Cardinals have $83.8MM committed to 12 players for 2008.  Even worse, they don’t know what they’re going to get out of Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, Chris Carpenter, Juan Encarnacion, and Mark Mulder. They are spending $45MM on those five and may get very little production.
  • Next year’s payroll may approach $115MM on the high end, but that doesn’t mean the Cards have $30MM to burn.  Their 0-3 guys will earn roughly $5MM in aggregate, and the arbitration-eligible group may run another $5MM even if a few are cut loose.  So I’m thinking more like $20MM to burn, and Walt Jocketty will have to stretch that money pretty far.
  • The Cardinals need a power hitter, two starters, and a shortstop.  Tony La Russa, if he returns, won’t be "going young."
  • Joel Pineiro could be one of the starters, but if the Cards view him as a cheap #5 they’re going to be disappointed.  He’ll get paid.
  • An earlier Strauss article has a couple of rumors of note.  We learned that the Cards were fairly close to signing Miguel Batista last winter and almost traded Anthony Reyes to the Phillies this summer.

Here’s what I see happening this winter.  The Cards will fill the rotation spots with one mid-level signing and one cheaper wild card type guy.  I could see a Carlos Silva being paired with a Matt ClementRandy Wolf could fill the wild card role if the Dodgers won’t have him back.

It might make sense to fill the shortstop hole and need for a power bat in one fell swoop.  On the surface it seems like Miguel Tejada would fit the bill and Edgar Renteria wouldn’t, though Renteria outslugged Tejada this year.  Regardless I expect the Cardinals to make an aggressive push for one of them (Larry Borowsky of Viva El Birdos got me thinking along these lines).

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