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What's Next For The Cardinals?

The Cardinals committed $120MM over seven years to Matt Holliday yesterday; he'll be paid $17MM in each year of the deal (with $2MM deferred annually).  Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the contract "leaves the club with little financial space to address the No. 5 starter, the opening at third base and the wish to add a reliever."

Miguel Tejada and Felipe Lopez are known third base targets for the Cardinals, but Goold says either player would be difficult to fit into the budget based on current demands.  Goold's colleague Joe Strauss says Tejada and Lopez are probably out "unless their market collapses."  Goold expects David Freese to get a crack at the hot corner, with internal candidates filling the fifth starter role as well.  The CHONE projection system has Freese hitting .269/.335/.442 in 2010, which wouldn't be any worse than Tejada and Lopez's projections.

The Cards could add an affordable left-handed bench bat via free agency, and Goold says Ryan Church is one name on the radar.  As for the bullpen, Goold speculates on Octavio Dotel and notes that a Russ Springer reunion has been discussed.  The Cardinals' offseason financial flexibility will hinge on the arbitration cases of Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker.  Goold wouldn't be surprised to see March bargains or midseason additions if the Cardinals stay quiet over the next few months.








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