The St. Louis Cardinals season came to an end last night without the 9th inning magic that fans have grown accustomed to in the last two seasons.
Most of this is because of the lower third of the batting order pretty much going silent during the World Series. The team that led all of baseball in batting average with runners in scoring position…didn’t really show up with runners in scoring position. When you don’t hit the ball with runners on base, it’s hard to drive in runs. Taking a called third strike for an out without an attempt to swing the bat does not help either.
That brings us to the questions for the offseason. We know that Chris Carpenter is retiring. There’s the question of whether or not the organization decides to resign Carlos Beltran. Many fans hope that they do so.
There were several Cardinals that filed for free agency today.
Four Cardinals delivered the necessary paperwork to be declared free agents as the hot stove season officially begins. Beltran, veteran ace Chris Carpenter, shortstop Rafael Furcal, and closer Edward Mujica were the four Cardinals who are eligible to be free agents.
Also expected to file is starting pitcher Jake Westbrook, who made his last start on the final Sunday of the season and was not on the postseason roster. The Cardinals will pay the $1 million to buy out his option.
If the Cards hold on to David Freese, it will not be as a starter. I expect that Matt Carpenter will be the regular third baseman with Kolten Wong as the regular second baseman. In the two seasons after his postseason heroics of 2011, Freese averaged .278/.357/.426. It’s clear that Freese is no longer the offensive threat that he used to be.
The question of shortstop, once more, is a big question for the Cardinals. If they turn to Pete Kozma, it will not be as a starter but as a defensive backup. Having a .217 batting average will not cut it and certainly not for the Cardinals. I expect the club will go after somebody that can not only play short but hit the ball as well. Stephen Drew, who hit horrible during the postseason, might be that answer. I don’t know.
Do the Cardinals hold on to Lance Lynn or trade him to obtain a decent hitting shortstop?
Lots of questions will have to be answered.