Offseason Outlook: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are next in our Offseason Outlook series.  Their likely commitments for 2009:

C – Yadier Molina – $3.25MM
C – Bryan Anderson – $400K
1B – Albert Pujols – $16MM
2B – Adam Kennedy – $4MM
SS – Brendan Ryan – $400K
3B – Troy Glaus – $11.25MM
IF – Aaron Miles – $1.4MM+
IF/OF – Chris Duncan – $439K
LF – Skip Schumaker – $400K
CF – Rick Ankiel – $900K+
RF – Ryan Ludwick – $411K+
OF – Brian Barton – $400K
OF – Joe Mather – $400K

SP – Chris Carpenter – $14MM
SP – Adam Wainwright – $2.6MM
SP – Kyle Lohse – $7.125MM
SP – Todd Wellemeyer – $1MM+
SP – Joel Pineiro – $7.5MM

RP – Chris Perez – $400K
RP – Ryan Franklin – $2.5MM
RP – Kyle McClellan – $400K
RP – Jason Motte – $400K
RP – Brad Thompson – $414K+
RP – Josh Kinney – $400K
RP –

Buyouts: Mark Mulder – $1.5MM

That’s about $78MM, plus arbitration raises for Miles, Ludwick, Wellemeyer, and Thompson.  The Cards apparently had around $30MM to spend before signing Lohse, so now they have roughly $21MM.  Unloading Kennedy is unlikely to save much money.

I don’t have much to add beyond the musings of Larry Borowsky of Viva El Birdos.  The Cards will probably look to re-sign Felipe Lopez, maybe Jason Isringhausen at the right price.  They’ll ink a few lefties, maybe a swingman pitcher, and a backup catcher. 

It seems the Cardinals can either spend good money on a shortstop or a reliever, but probably not both.  It could boil down to Rafael Furcal or Brian Fuentes; you know I prefer Furcal.  It’s easier to piece together a bullpen than find a starting shortstop.

John Mozeliak could also pursue a trade.  Some thought to be available who might fit: Brian Roberts, Dan Uggla, Jack Wilson, B.J. Ryan, George Sherrill, Kevin Gregg, and Huston Street.  Top prospect Colby Rasmus figures to be off-limits; you just can’t trade a potential star center fielder.  And Ankiel, a Scott Boras client, is a free agent after ’09.

The Cardinals will always be fearsome with Pujols anchoring their lineup.  If they can find a shortstop this winter and keep the rotation healthy, they’ll contend.

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