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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51 Comments on "What’s Next For The Cardinals?"


riotmute
5 years 7 months ago

Church would be a good fit as the bench projects to be very weak unless Craig makes the team. Freese will be fine at third – it would be a waste of resources to sign an aging Tejada at this point. Sign a solid reliever – Dotel is a good bet – and I think you are golden going into spring training. Franklin as closer is scary but you have Motte in the wings and Sanchez on the verge

5 years 7 months ago

dotel would be an excellent addition. lopez would be great as well; he’s a younger, healthier MDR. could play all over, and provide solid freese insurance.

Cuddy Fox
5 years 7 months ago

I will not be surprise if the market do not collapse on Tejada and Lopez. Tejada is getting up in age and Lopez has his ups and downs. I see St Louis be able to get them if no other team wants them.

5 years 7 months ago

i think they did this to themselves, no one else wanted him for the money he wanted.

bbxxj
5 years 7 months ago

As long as you don’t expect too much fifth starters aren’t hard to find.

If they come cheap enough because of the opportunity to start (ie not much more than 1M) guyz like these would be great ideas because they have experience starting and can be bumped to the pen if they need too:

Myers
Park
Baek
McClung
Contreras

Just wait it out and see who you can scoop up late for 800K-1M or just go with an internal option.

Also I wonder if they would take a look at JoJo Reyes from ATL. He is completely blocked now and in the future but is more than capable of being a good fifth starter for the league minimum. It may not take much to get him but I don’t know if STL wants to thin their system even more.

Redbirds16
5 years 7 months ago

The production you can expect from those names might not be much better than what the Cards have in-house. If someone from the Doug Davis ilk falls to 2 or 3 million, I think that’s more what the Cards are looking for. Jaime Garcia is talent-ready (if not fully healthy) for the bigs and Boggs has proven he can compete at the big league level (although he’s still got some growing to do as well). Either of those guys have the same or more potential production at a cost-controlled prices than the names you’ve provided. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have some depth.

Smoltz would be a great fit, depending on his asking price. 5th starter ability, bullpen ability, veteran leadership. What’s not to like? (Red Sox fans can say what they like, but their coaching staff couldn’t pick up that he was tipping his pitches… Something TLR and Co. — from all reports it was Carp that actually spotted it — picked up in the first bullpen session.)

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

“The CHONE projection system has Freese hitting .269/.335/.442 in 2010, which wouldn’t be any worse than Tejada and Lopez’s projections.”

Last 3 years:

Tejada–.296/.357/.442
.283/.314/.415
.313/.340/.455

and…Lopez since leaving the abyss that is Washington; has yet to drop below .300 (including the short tenure with cards).

So…Tim Dierkes…..It is clear to me that your source of “projections”, makes as much sense as Tiger Woods becoming a marriage counselor. I like the idea (reality not probable), of either Tejada or Lopez at the hot corner in St. Louis.

psrowlan
5 years 7 months ago

“Lopez since leaving the abyss that is Washington; has yet to drop below .300″Since batting average is the best metric ever.Chone projects Freese as a .777 OPS guy next year, which is only about 20 OPS less than Tejada last year. Plus, Freese gives you better defense. Why pay a few million dollars for Tejada or Lopez when you can the same production for free?

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

Dont get me wrong…I am on the Freese bandwagon. I just like the veteran idea of molding the kid for a year. I know cards probably cant swing a deal for lopez. But imagine yourself getting a call-up to start 3rd for a championship calibur team like the cards; and you look up the line up card, and see Machine and Holliday among luddy and molina in your first year. Exictement—YES. Im worried bout the pressure on him. But he is a pro, so hope for the best.

Aranathor
5 years 7 months ago

According to CHONE:
Lopez .273/.344/.381
Tejada .297/.333/.434

I would much prefer Lopez, because he’s younger and probably cheaper. But in reality i doubt the Cards have anything left to pursue either of these guys with.

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

I agree….

5 years 7 months ago

Ah. So you, and not Sean Smith, are an expert on baseball projections. Got it.

vtadave
5 years 7 months ago

Well done.

DickAlmighty
5 years 7 months ago

Anyone who claims to be an “expert” on baseball projections is a complete windbag.

Sean Smith may be good at projecting players, as are the people at Baseball Prospectus, Baseball HQ, Baseball Think Factory, Bill James, etc., etc., and yet none of them could ever claim to be better than 60-70% accurate on most of their projections. They’re basically worse than weathermen.

So, if you’re looking for accurate projections, I think ProTech76’s approach has about as much validity as Sean Smith’s. Look at the last 3-5 years, factor in some age related decline or improvement, see if there was any luck/bad luck involved in a player’s recent numbers (or any particular skill he got worse at or improved on), and give it your best guess… it’s just like sticking your head out the front door to see whether it’s going to rain today.

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

I wont ever claim to be a expert. Experts said Julio Lugo was done after Boston overall. All I am saying is a veteran presence at the Hot corner this year, would do no harm to a young David Freese. Even if it was to split time. I think Freese will be a wonderful asset. If financially, the Cards cant swing Tejada or Lopez <—(preferred); then there are others. I liked Lopez when they nabbed him from Nats'.

Ferrariman
5 years 7 months ago

david freese is like 27 lol..not too young anymore. Maybe 26.

Jiujitsu411420
5 years 7 months ago

I’m a firm believer in that it takes a team effort to win. All I’m sayin is that pujols and holliday better stay healthy or it’s gonna be a long season for the redbirds.

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

Timmy…u r right, it does take a team effort to win. Health is always a concern year to year.

But as the friendly rivalry continues…..isn’t it ALWAYS a long season for the cubbies?lol

roebirds
5 years 7 months ago

Any team losing its top 2 hitters would be in trouble. Luckily, the Cards did pretty well even before acquiring Holliday last season because they have one of, if not the best, top halves of a rotation in the league. I think they’ll be fine in 2010.

Aranathor
5 years 7 months ago

I would love to see Felipe Lopez back… but only at the right price, the last two years of FA, despite his strong performances have been unkind partly because he and his agent over-value his talents and partly down to plain bad luck, howeverm as much as i like him, he seems like a bit of a luxury should the Cards add him. He can play the whole infield, where we already have numerous player, and he will probably want too much to justify being a Backup-come-platoon 3B-man. I would much prefer to see Freese play a whole year of ‘Rasmus-Ball’ at 3B, Tejada, i doubt will be available at the ‘right’ price.
Pickup somebody (preferably a somebody who can do something) in March, reliever or bench-lefty, and don’t worry too much about a 5th Starter, nobody worries about their 5th Starter. Boggs-Kmac-Garcia-Walter-Somebody can probably pull enough innings out of their collective ass for 32-ish games.

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

“Pickup somebody (preferably a somebody who can do something) in March, reliever or bench-lefty,”

I keep hearing “Ryan Church’s” name thrown around some. The last game I watched last year at home was Cards vs Nats, Boggs pitched his like 3rd flop in a row. He worries me, but he is still young.

Aranathor
5 years 7 months ago

With Carp-Waino-Lohse-Penny-Mr.X we can win enough games, i don’t believe that paying for someone to pitch those 32-ish games will significantly improve our chances over a random committe of Minor Leaguers.
Also, i am still a believer in Lohse, 2009 was completely out of sort for him, he’d never been on the DL before, its unlikely that he pitches like its 2008, but its even less likely that he pitches like its 2009.

Redbirds16
5 years 7 months ago

Adding a proven 5th starter couldn’t hurt, but at current prices, the Cards would be better finding ‘a poor man’s DeRosa’ as Tim has said… If he’s a lefty with pop, even better. But in the absence of that, a combination of Smoltz, Lopez, and Church would be nice if the price is right.

Lopez will be asking for a lot, he’s a boras client. Church should come at a reasonable price. Smoltz will set his own price and depending on what it is, the Cards could pay or pass.

riotmute
5 years 7 months ago

Boggs is a major league pitcher – it just seems like he may be best served as a reliever at this point.

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

his dad was a major league hitter…he may be best suited to pick up a bat.lol

vtadave
5 years 7 months ago

His dad was a major league hitter? Who was that?

Andy_B
5 years 7 months ago

I got this feeling that Boggs pulls it together and beats out Garcia for the 5th spot. Boggs was one of the few bright spots in the NLDS because he was going right after pitchers Dave Duncan style. He’s always had good stuff, but he has to trust before he’ll be any good.

bbxxj
5 years 7 months ago

Yeah, I think the Cards will have plenty of guys hungry for a starting spot on a contending team and so will be able to take their pick of the bargain bin type starters, which really isn’t a bad position to be in.

5 years 7 months ago

The Cardinals have put themselves in a great long term position by adding Holliday. They have increased the chances of resigning Pujols 50 fold by showing that they are committed to winning. I no longer think Pujols will even reach free agency. Like Jeter for the Yanks, he will be the face of the franchise for years to come. I’m very happy for St. Louis as its a great city with great fans and an incredible team with a lot of class acts. Congrats St. Louis fans!

Tim,
I wanted to make sure to comment that this new commenting system is awesome. Its pretty much everything I’ve been looking for from MLBTR in the commenting system. The organization is great. The avatars are fun. The emails allow me to see peoples comments on my way home from work.

Well done once again Tim. You never cease to impress.

Aranathor
5 years 7 months ago

I didn’t think people in Boston were allowed to say ‘Jeter’ without adding ‘suuuuuucks’ to the end!
2010, ’11, ’12, ’13 ought to be brilliant years, the end of this decade, i can live with as long as we win something when we have the chance. The Brewers are only going to get better and the Cubs will sort themselves out-eventually-but until then we have our best chance for a long time.

mgsports
5 years 7 months ago

Cantu from the Marlins?
Inge from the Tigers?
Mora?

Reed Johnson?
Orlando Hernandez?

stackthedeck
5 years 7 months ago

Is Smoltz out of the picture? I still think the Cards can sign him. inthecards

5 years 7 months ago

Heh. No disrespect from me for Jeter. His comeback last year shut up a lot of my concerns about his defense and as i said in the beltre post, the presence of Teix has hugely benefit the entire infield. Jeter will finish his career with close to 4000 hits…. Can’t hate on that.

5 years 7 months ago

Freese should get a chance to start Opening Day depending on how he fares in Spring Training. The Cardinals need a left-handed reliever, but they have some good right-handed arms in their farm system.

Redbirds16
5 years 7 months ago

The Cards are set on LHRP. They solved that issue last year with Reyes and Miller. They might want a RHRP that’s proven at the ML level. They do have some nice arms in the minors, but they apparently need some seasoning still.

roebirds
5 years 7 months ago

Indeed. Of the list of names, Dotel seem to me to be the best pickup out there for the Cards within their budget.

5 years 7 months ago

Cardinals are really going for the stars/scrubs here. Freese is a good bet to put up numbers equal to Tejada and the other options out there.

I do wonder how their relative lack of minor league talent affects them in future years, but until Pujols needs a new deal they should have the payroll flexibility to be competitive.

Andy_B
5 years 7 months ago

I like Flip Lopez because of his .383 OBP, but I’m much more worried about the back end of their bullpen.

5 years 7 months ago

I am excited to watch St. Louis this year. I may even start rooting for them as my NL team if the Mets don’t get it together. Bay was not the answer for NY. Holliday was definitely the answer for St. Louis regardless of the dropped ball last year. Trust me St. Louis. You guys will be the dominant NL team this year right alongside Philly *YUCK!* Sorry. My NL team is the Mets. Last years WS had me really confused…. and sad.

NL_East_Rivalry
5 years 7 months ago

Is there really anything they need to do? ‘Stros have a nice core, but always give up halfway through the year. Reds tried not to give up, but still hit slumps. Brewers fell apart last year, so maybe they have what it takes. Cubs… when they get rid of their 3-4 bad contracts then we can talk. They still have power and pitching.

I really don’t see the Cards have anything to worry about. Round out your line-up, but as long as you have Pujos and Holliday, then you are guaranteed 2 IBB’s every two innings.

tyessner31
5 years 7 months ago

Sign Ryan Church and Dotel and then we will be set end of story

beaverflea
5 years 7 months ago

All of these are great points, but unless you want heartburn like we all experienced at the tail-end of isringhausen’s stay here, I think we need an ESTABLISHED closer who can put guys away WITHOUT loading the bases first! VALVERDE!!!!!

protech76
5 years 7 months ago

“All of these are great points, but unless you want heartburn like we all experienced at the tail-end of isringhausen’s stay here,”

COULDNT OF BEEN SAID BETTER.

5 years 7 months ago

agreed. i think too little is being made of the probability of franklin being unable to perform as a closer at all this year, much less perform like he did last year. dotel is exactly what we need; a veteran guy who doesnt demand a closer gig but would likely be promoted at some point anyways. and you can never have too mch starting pitching. I’d really like to see what DD could do with bedard. if we could those two for 5-6 MM, i think we’d be set.