Rumor Check: Jon Lester

Jim Bowden suggested on Twitter last night that the St. Louis Cardinals have joined the pursuit of free agent LHP Jon Lester. He cited a “club source.” The other clubs that are reportedly already in the running are the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves.

This would certainly contradict the notion that after yesterday’s acquistion of Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden that the Cardinals would be done with major moves. Does John Mozeliak have something else up his sleeve?

Bowden says that such a deal would make sense after trading Shelby Miller to the Braves. But lets dig into that a little bit, shall we? [click to continue…]

Cardinals kick off their offseason

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have acquired RF Jason Heyward and RHP Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for RHP Shelby Miller and RHP Tyrell Jenkins. It was certainly a big deal for both sides, especially for the Braves who have a new GM and was looking to some moves and shake things up a bit on a team that has fallen short of expectations the last few years.

For the Cardinals, I already wrote about their two biggest needs this offseason being right field and the bullpen. John Mozeliak continued his string of smart moves and fixed both problems with a single move.

The headlining acquisition of the trade is Jason Heyward. At just 25, he’s coming off a year where he won the Gold Glove in right field. His batting average (.271) and on base percentage (.351) were the highest they’ve been since his rookie year, but his slugging percentage (.384) and just 11 home runs in 149 games stands out as lacking. [click to continue…]

Cardinals sign IF Dean Anna, 3 minor leaguers

The first move of the offseason is in and it’s a mild one. The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed infielder Dean Anna and assigned him to the 40 man roster. The team has also signed RHP Marcus Hatley, RHP Miguel Socolovich, and re-signed infielder Scott Moore to minor league contracts.

Anna, 27, split last season between the Yankees and Pirates Triple-A affiliates, hitting a combined .207/.325/.308 with 2 homers in 65 games between the two teams. He played in 12 games in the Majors for the Yankees last year as well, going 3-for-22, with a home run. It was a disappointment following a 2013 campaign where he led the Pacific Coast League with a .331 batting average and was a PCL All Star.

Batting from the left side, Anna has shown versatility in his career, having played at all four infield positions and the two corner outfield ones. With the expectation that Daniel Descalso is likely being considered as a non-tender candidate, Anna is likely in the mix with Greg Garcia and Pete Kozma for one of two infield bench spots on the 25 man roster. [click to continue…]

Offseason Priority: Bullpen

After settling what the Cardinals need to do in right field, the next most urgent matter for John Mozeliak to address will be the Cardinals’ bullpen where there are more questions than answers right now.

Former closer Jason Motte and last year’s setup guy Pat Neshek are free agents and, depending on who you talk to, aren’t likely to return. Mozeliak also said during their season wrap-up press conference that they will try to move Randy Choate and pursue a left handed reliever that better fits the way Mike Matheny manages a bullpen.

Andrew Miller has been listed as that potential target for the Cardinals this offseason. Derrick Goold says he’s heard it mentioned to him more than once that the Cardinals will pursue him in free agency. [click to continue…]

Offseason Priority: Right Field

The off season officially begun this morning as free agents are now able to openly negotiate with all teams. The Cardinals got things started yesterday as they named David Bell the team’s new bench coach and made some 40 man roster adjustments. They now have five places on the 40 man roster, enough to add some players and, according to team owner Bill Dewitt Jr from a few weeks ago, enough money to do the same.

The first off season priority for the Cardinals is obviously right field. Following the untimely death of Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals now have a gaping hole in right field. While I was comfortable letting two prospects like Taveras and Randal Grichuk fight it out for the starting job, I don’t have the confidence in Grichuk to hand him the job straight up. I don’t think Stephen Piscotty is quite ready to challenge him either.

Ultimately, the Cardinals should be looking to make a move. Rick Hummel with the Post Dispatch believes they’ll target a left handed hitting outfielder, as Jon Jay is the only remaining left handed hitting outfielder on the Cardinals roster. All due respect to Mr. Hummel, he probably was told that by someone inside the organization too, but I’d rather just have quality hitter. I don’t really care about handedness because we already have a good mix of right handed versus left handed batters in the lineup. [click to continue…]