Posted on November 9, 2010 at 8:52 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
The off-season is here. Teams can talk to free agents. The GMs are getting together sometime this month, then have the winter meetings at the beginning of December. The hot stove season is here and we hopefully will bask in its warmth.
The Cardinals are going to be an interesting team to watch this offseason
, because there is no telling how it is going to go. Will they made a trade for a middle infielder? Will they basically stick with the status quo? Will they make some sort of blockbuster with Colby Rasmus involved? There are so many directions that things could go with this team.
I'm not sure if it is an indicator of anything or not, but it is pretty interesting that Matt Pagnozzi was placed on waivers. As you know from reading my analysis of the last few games of the season, I expected that Pagnozzi was in line to be the backup catcher and Bryan Anderson would be plying his trade elsewhere as some part of a deal where Cardinal fans figured we gave up too much for too little.
Instead, Pagnozzi is the one gone and Anderson is in line to be the regular backup, as the philosophy on that position shifts from defense-only to offense, with a splash of defense. Anderson can have a limited platoon with Molina since he hits lefty and can make those Molina off-days not so disappointing.
Of course, it might be that Tony LaRussa is planning for Molina to be the first player to catch 162 games as well. Never rule that out.
Also, of course, this offseason brings the added drama of the Albert Pujols contract. AP's come out and said he wants a new contract by spring training
, if possible. I don't see that as being a big change in his stance. Last year, he cut off negotiations before the season started and you would have to expect that he would do the same this year. In my view, if there isn't a contract extension by time the team reports to Jupiter, things are a failure in that department. I'd bet that the club is going to really push and see if they can't get it signed right before the Winter Warmup. There's no way you can go into the season with him still unsigned if your focus is winning in 2011.
While MLB Trade Rumors
is a wonderful resource any time of the year, I find myself checking it more in July and this time of the year than anytime else. Looking through there today, there were a few things that caught my eye.
First off, the Rockies are interested
in Jake Westbrook and the Dodgers may be as well. Reading what the St. Louis media is writing and talking about, it seems pretty likely that Westbrook will re-up with the Cards, but we'll see if the interest from the other clubs drives his price up or puts him out of the Cardinals' budget. I still think that move will get done and fairly soon, and as long they don't break the bank for him (or are willing to up payroll), it seems like a good move.
I've wondered if World Series MVP and former Cardinal Edgar Renteria might not be on the radar for the Cards, not necessarily as a full-time player, but a great backup at short. It seems that Renteria is also open to playing some second base
, which would be helpful for the Cardinals as well. It remains to be seen, though, if Renteria is open to taking on a more limited role or would still prefer to play every day. I think he'd be a fabulous bench guy for the Cards, but his salary may preclude that.
Tim Dierkes, who established the site, has put up his guesses for where the top 50 free agents will wind up
. I'm still not sold on Cliff Lee going to the Yankees, but that's neither here nor there. The only two on the list that he thinks will go to the Cardinals are Westbrook and Orlando Hudson. Interestingly enough, he's the subject of today's Viva El Birdos entry
So the stove is starting to gain a little heat, but there's still some time before it gets going full throttle. It's not likely the free agents will start moving until after Thanksgiving
. Which means there is plenty of time for analysis and reasoning, also known as "pulling ideas out of backsides".
UCB Radio again this week, same time, same place. Bill Ivie of i70 Baseball is on the schedule to educate, illuminate, and entertain you, so tune in!
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