Last spring as the Cardinals descended on Jupiter, Florida, for spring training there was quite a bit of talk about the organization’s efforts to put together the team’s next group of core players that would carry the team through the next 5-7 years. Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday, and Yadier Molina were the centerpieces of the current Cardinals’ core and at ages 34, 36, and 33 respectively, they’re also getting old.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have dealt 3B David Freese and RHP Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. The most immediate effect of the deal is that it opens up third base for Matt Carpenter and, as a result, second base for prospect Kolten Wong.
Considering that Freese and Salas were widely considered to be non-tender candidates, this is quite the coup for General Manager John Mozeliak.
On Sunday afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals put the finishing touches on their 2013 campaign that saw them finish with a 97-65 record, good for best in the National League. For a team that spent most of the first half of the season in that position before floundering mid-summer, it was a happy ending.
The team, however, will enter postseason play for the tenth time in the last fourteen seasons with about as many questions as answers. Here are three important questions that the team will need to find answers to if the franchise’s 12th World Series title is in the cards.
The season is wrapping up and that means its time for discussion over who deserves each league’s postseason awards. The most talked about award for Cardinals’ fans is the National League MVP because the belief is that we have two guys who should be top candidates for the title, Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina. Now, not to disparage those two who are very good baseball players, but neither is the MVP this year in my opinion.
It’s been a theme for the Cardinals all season. Missed opportunities. The most glaring from this afternoon being a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh with no outs. Ground balls from Allen Craig and Yadier Molina ended the inning without the Cardinals scoring to extend their 2-1 lead. At that point, the momentum swung firmly in the direction of the Nationals.
In the top of the eighth, Mitchell Boggs came in and it all began to unravel for the Cardinals. A tough bounce resulted in a fielding error by Pete Kozma allowed Michael Morse to reach base. Ian Desmond singled to move Morse to third. Danny Espinosa sacrificed Desmond to second. With runners at second and third, Boggs managed to strike out Kurt Suzuki for the second out of the inning. It appeared the Cardinals might escape the inning.