Though teams hounded the Cardinals about young pitching standouts
Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, they were rebuffed at all turns.
The Cardinals want Miller to remain in their rotation even though he
scarcely was used in the postseason and Martinez to get there one
day, perhaps in 2014 or certainly the next year.
But, without giving up pitching help or any prospects or even a
draft pick, they managed to improve their troublesome shortstop
position. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta came via free agency from Detroit
at a $53 million price tag the Cardinals could afford because they
had the contracts of shortstop Rafael Furcal, outfielder Carlos
Beltran and pitchers Jake Westbrook and Chris Carpenter coming off
With left-hander Jaime Garcia (shoulder surgery) and closer Jason
Motte (elbow surgery) expected back after missing most and all of
last season, respectively, the Cardinals have even more pitching
depth than before.
Former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, a Hall of Famer, said,
"When people ask me if I could have one wish, I say I wish I could
be 60 years old (he is 82) and my name is Mike Matheny. Not just
that he's more handsome than me. But he got five closers and eight
Next in line for the Cardinals is to acquire a right-handed-hitting
infielder who could platoon with rookie Kolten Wong.
OF Peter Bourjos, who had surgery on his right wrist in September,
started swinging a bat and the Cardinals, who acquired him last
month from the Los Angeles Angels, are encouraged by his recovery.
Bourjos will be in competition with incumbent Jon Jay for the
starting center-field job. The surgery, which necessitated a pin
being inserted, was done to repair to a tear inside the wrist after
Bourjos was hit by a pitch.
OF Oscar Taveras, whose season at Triple-A Memphis ended after 46
games because of a nagging ankle injury that required surgery,
passed medical evaluations in St. Louis but was not yet cleared to
run. "That's not to say he couldn't," general manager John Mozeliak
said. "Right now it's more important for him to gain strength and
continue to improve from a balance standpoint and ultimately he will
OF Carlos Beltran signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the
New York Yankees as a free agent, but the Cardinals remained in
touch with his agent even though it did not plan to offer a
multi-year deal nor could it guarantee playing time with younger
players like Oscar Taveras and Matt Adams available. "It would have
been such a difficult fit for him," general manager John Mozeliak
said. "Obviously, Carlos is playing at a very high level and expects
to play every day. It would drastically change how we would have
thought about some things."
SS Jhonny Peralta, signed to a $53 million, four-year deal after
coming off a 50-game suspension while with Detroit for his
association with the Biogenesis Clinic, has heard some criticism
about being rewarded with such largesse even though he was a PED
user. But he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss, "I know
I made a mistake about baseball and everything. ... I want to show
other people I'm not a bad person."
INF Kolten Wong will be the second baseman if things go according
to the Cardinals plans. All-Star 2B Matt Carpenter likely will be
moved to third but also could switch between the two. Manager Mike
Matheny said, "Playing multiple positions isn't necessarily a
downgrade or a backhanded slap. Who knows between now and spring
training? So it's nice to have the flexibility of a player that can
move around the field. He's prepared to do whatever he needs to do,
and I think he's really taken that next step where he's a leader on
this club now."
[to top of second column]
- RHP Angel Castro, who spent last season at Albuquerque in
the Los Angeles Dodgers' system after pitching in Mexico and
Japan the previous three seasons, was signed by the Cardinals.
Castro, 31, was leading the Dominican Republic league in ERA.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I still believe Pete is the kind of player that
we saw at the end of the 2012 season. I think there is more than
that. He just needs to continue to push himself to be the best
that he can be regardless of the situation." -- Manager Mike
Matheny on displaced SS Pete Kozma, who slipped to .217 last
The Cardinals are flush with young pitching and should be strong
in that area for several years to come. It will be interesting
to see if they keep both Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal in
the bullpen. Rosenthal likely will be the closer at the start of
the season until Jason Motte, who had Tommy John elbow surgery
last May, returns and, even then, Motte might come back as a
BIGGEST NEEDS: The club could use right-handed bench help,
notably in the infield. Cardinals pinch hitters batted just .201
in the regular season with three homers, all by Matt Adams, who
wound up at first base when Allen Craig was injured.
ARRIVALS: CF Peter Bourjos (trade with Angels), SS Jhonny
Peralta (free agent from Tigers), RHP Angel Castro (free agent
DEPARTURES: 3B David Freese (traded to Angels), RHP Fernando
Salas (traded to Angels), SS Rafael Furfal (free agent, signed
with Marlins), RHP Edward Mujica (free agent, signed with Red
Sox), RHP Chris Carpenter (retired), OF Carlos Beltran (free
agent, signed with Yankees)
FREE AGENTS: RHP Jake Westbrook, RHP John Axford
Westbrook's $9.5 million wasn't picked up and Axford wasn't
tendered a contract after bringing a $5 million salary from the
Brewers, who traded him to the Cardinals in late August.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: CF Jon Jay, INF Daniel Descalso, OF Peter
1B Allen Craig (sprained left foot) probably will not need
surgery but certainly will need rest.
LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder surgery in May 2013) had a
torn labrum repaired. He was throwing bullpen sessions and
pitching in simulated innings at the end of the season and
expects to be ready for spring training.
RHP Jason Motte (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) was throwing
at the end of the season and might be ready sometime in spring
training. A likely return date for him, though, is May.
OF Peter Bourjos (right wrist surgery in September 2013) had a
pin inserted into the wrist. He should be ready for spring
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