There may not be another significant move on the horizon for the Cardinals this offseason, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak suggested over the weekend (link via Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com). “We don’t feel like there’s that one player out there that if we could target we’d go after if we’re patient enough,” Mozeliak said. The team surely wouldn’t broadcast its intentions even if one specific target of interest remained on the market, but it’s nonetheless notable to hear the Cards’ top decision-maker plainly state that he doesn’t “see anything that makes us want to change direction” when looking at the market of available talent. As Langosch notes, the Cards can still add some veterans on minor league contracts in hopes that someone forces his way onto the active roster this spring, but Mozeliak spoke like an exec who has completed most of his offseason shopping.
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- If the Cardinals do make a move, writes Mark Saxon of The Athletic (subscription required), they’d likely be zeroed in on versatile position players and bullpen help. “Theorizing that relievers and guys who play multiple positions are what we’re looking at is probably not the worst theory in the world,” said general manager Mike Girsch late last week. If anything, though, it seems that the Cardinals will be more opportunistic rather than setting their sights on one specific player to pursue him at all costs. Saxon does run through some remaining free agents who could hold interest, noting that Oliver Perez could make some sense “if the Cardinals don’t want to pay the asking price in trade talks with the San Francisco Giants for Will Smith.”
- Girsch also spoke to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Ben Frederickson about the decision to hang onto Jose Martinez rather than trade him. “Other teams looked at it as a guy who was not a fit for us, and that maybe they could get him on the cheap,” said Girsch of the team’s exploration of the market for Martinez. The Cardinals, it seems, had little interest in weakening their 2019 roster by moving Martinez solely for prospects, knowing his bat holds significant value even in a more limited role. Martinez hit .305/.364/.457 in a career-high 590 plate appearances last year and is a career .309/.372/.478 hitter in 915 MLB plate appearances. Frederickson also offers up some quotes from skipper Mike Shildt about the manner in whcih Martinez will be used in 2019, with Shildt believing he’ll be more involved than a typical bench bat and specifically touting Martinez’s proficiency against left-handed pitching (.332/.408/.560). However, it’s clear that heading into the season, Dexter Fowler will be given a chance to reestablish himself as a viable option in right field.
- Righty Adam Wainwright spoke at this weekend’s Winter Warm-Up event about his decision to return for the 2019 season (link via Langosch). The three-time All-Star was candid in discussing the pain he’s pitched through in recent seasons and also in talking about the unexpected rebound his arm felt late in the season. “I stopped feeling like my arm was going to break every time I threw the ball,” said Wainwright, who also touched on the possibility of pitching in relief if he can’t secure a rotation spot in Spring Training. However, Langosch notes that the Cardinals’ plan is to give the 37-year-old a real chance to do so. If Wainwright is indeed on a “whole different level health-wise” than he’s been in recent years, as he says, then perhaps it’d be unwise to bet against him. Wainwright has a combined 4.77 ERA in 362 1/3 innings across the past three seasons but was, of course, one of the game’s premier arms for quite some time before that; he returned from Tommy John surgery in 2012 and tossed 695 innings of 2.99 ERA ball from 2012-15.