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The Cardinals weaknesses were shown in the World Series and fortunately they have the kind of pieces needed to fix the issues this offseason. General Manager, John Mozeliak will be extremely busy and popular this off season.
Let’s first of all start with Carlos Beltran. The Cardinals should not offer him a multi year deal. Give him the qualified one year offer at 14 million for next year. If he wants to come back for one more year, great! If Carlos needs/wants to get a 2-3 year deal from another team then we will take the end of first round compensation pick for him. If he stays he can be part of the outfield rotation so he is only playing 4-5 games a week in order to keep him and his knees healthy for the playoffs next year.
If you take the three position, LF, RF and 1B, average 6 games a week that means you have 18 starts a week at those positions. If you take Allen Craig, Matt Holiday, Matt Adams along with Beltran they can split up those starts. You can start both Holiday and Craig 5 of the 6 games. Then give four starts each to Adams and Beltran. This also means you have one of the four sitting on the bench ready to pinch hit when you need it.
Pete Kozma has played his last game as a Cardinal. He only plays shortstop and cannot hit major league pitching. If he can be packaged as a throw in on part of another deal, great. I don’t want him at AAA slowing up other shortstops growth in our organization. I am still a believer that you go after Jhonny Peralta for a 3 year 36 million dollar deal. He has proven he can hit in the post season and gives you a little more pop and a much better average.
David Freese role needs to be either a bench player or traded way. It is time for the Kolten Wong era to begin at second and move Matt Carpenter over to third. Freese had two good years and a remarkable playoff run in 2011. However he is not young and is approaching his free agency. So we need to look to package him with some pitching to improve our organization.
Jon Jay has played his last game as a Cardinal as well. His defense was not good in the post season and his hitting was worst. He is a nice player, but not what the Cardinals need in CF for the next 5 years. I continue to keep Shane Robinson as the defensive back up center fielder and play Oscar Taveras as our starting CF. Yes defensively he is not above average at this time, but give him time to grow into the position and what runs he might give up defensively he will more than make up for it offensively. By playing Wong and Taveras it dramatically improves our team speed and will help the Cardinals manufacture runs instead of relying on hitting 330 with RISP.
The only position the Cardinals need to up grade outside their own organization at the major league level is shortstop. If they decide not to go the Peralta route, then a trade is in order. The players who should be made available are Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, Freese, Jay and other young arms not named Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Michael Wacha. They need to be looking for players who are 2-3 years away with a lot of upside say at CF, SS, catcher and of course, pitching.
There is a lot to be discussed and I see the Cardinals being very active this off season. They have needs and pieces other people want and need. Should make for a great off season in preparation of yet another run towards the World Series title.