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…]

Exit Interview: Peter Bourjos

2014 Major League Stats: .231/.294/.348, 4 HR, 24 RBI in 119 games
2015 Role: Bench for the St. Louis Cardinals

After a dismal 2013 by the Cardinals’ center fielder Jon Jay, the organization decided that they needed some insurance, so they acquired Peter Bourjos in a trade that included Randal Grichuk and sent the Angels David Freese and Fernando Salas. It was a trade that gave fans a lot to talk about, especially whether or not Bourjos could reproduce his 2011 season at the plate.

The answer to that question was never really answered. After winning the job out of Spring Training he went 0-for-13 as the official start to his Cardinals career. Then he put together a couple of multi-hit games and got hits in five of his next six appearances. But with the offense struggling, Mike Matheny went back to what he knew and plugged Jon Jay into center field. [click to continue…]

David Bell named bench coach; Cardinals make roster moves

The Cardinals announced today that they have promoted David Bell to bench coach. The position came available after Mike Aldrete, who had held the position the previous three seasons, left for the same position with the Oakland Athletics.

Bell, 42, joined the Cardinals’ organization last winter as assistant hitting coach. He will now follow the same job path as Aldrete as he becomes bench coach.

While not the decision I was hoping for, he does at least have minor league managing experience. He spent three seasons managing the Double-A Carolina Mudcats and then a season as manager of the Triple-A Louisville Bats, both inside the Cincinnati Reds’ organization. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Jaime Garcia

2014 Major League Stats: 4.12, 7 G, 43.2 IP, 1.05 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 5.14 ERA, 2 G, 7 IP, 1.29 WHIP
2015 Role: Starting Pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals

Another season, another year of disappointment from Jaime Garcia. After signing a 4 year, $27 million deal before the 2012 season, Garcia seemed poised to be a regular for the Cardinals. Instead, as he enters the final year of that deal, he has made just 36 Major League starts under it and pitched just 220 innings.

He returned to the Cardinals in mid-May and looked every bit the pitcher he had the potential to be. In previous years, Garcia would be easily shaken and inefficient on the mound, but this time it seemed like he had sorted it out. On the mound he was efficient and in command. He had swagger, there’s really no better way to describe it. [click to continue…]