Carlos Beltran is still available and the Cardinals should use some of that money that they were earmarking for Pujols and use it here. Beltran hit .300 with 22 home runs and 84 RBI. Will he steal you bases anymore? No, but he can still be an effective piece to the puzzle.
One of the things that helped the Cardinals last year is the fact that they are so versatile. They were able to plug people everywhere. World Series hero Allen Craig, played six different spots. Carlos Beltran can come in and play right field and a little bit of center field. With that ability, Lance Berkman can go play first base. Craig can help out at second with the newly re-signed Skip Schumaker. It will give new manager Mike Matheny some options to play with in late game situations and matchups depending on the opposing pitcher.
The fact that Beltran can move around can be beneficial to him. Beltran used to be a perennial base stealer, and last year his total dropped all the way down to only four. He’s had knee surgeries over the past few years which have zapped his speed and ability to play center field on a consistent basis, however, Beltran proved last year that he can still swing an effective stick.
Look, Beltran by himself will not replace Pujols. Maybe if it was 2004, but not now. But Beltran with Craig and a healthy Adam Wainwright can keep the Cardinals in contention for 2012.