The St. Louis Cardinals fell just short of their goal of winning their 2nd World Series in 3 years. The Boston Red Sox played outstanding baseball and won this year’s fall classic 4-2, The Cardinals, with one of the best young teams in baseball, had a few weaknesses that need to be addressed.
The most glaring spot is shortstop. Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso did a wonderful job defensively but both had their struggles at the plate. The hot stove rumors had the Cardinals chasing Colorado Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies put an end to that speculation saying they had no interest in trading one of their best players. St. Louis is better off looking at one of the other alternatives. They could look at JJ Hardy (Baltimore), Alexei Ramirez (White Sox), Elvis Andrus (Texas), Erick Aybar (Anaheim) or even free agent Stephen Drew. Andrus would have been a great addition but the Rangers traded Ian Kinsler to Detroit for 1B Prince Fielder. They will not be interested in trading Andrus at this point. The Cardinals best bet would be to go after the Angels Aybar. The Angels need pitching badly and St. Louis has a large stable of great young arms.
Another major weakness was centerfield.. John Jay had his worste year at the plate and wasn’t particulary good defensively. He allowed to many balls to get into the gap, Singles became Doubles on numerous occassions. The Cardinals traded 3B David Freese and P Fernando Salas to Anaheim for CF Pete Bourjos and minor league outfielder Randal Grichuk. Bourjos is a fast outstanding defensive outfielder.
They also have 2011 minor league player of the year Oscar Tavares who can play center or right field. This would allow the team to use Jay as part of a package for the shortstop they need so badly. Keeping Jay will probably mean Shane Robinson will have to be moved.
The trade that sent 3B David Freese packing opens up some interesting possibilities. The plan is to move Matt Carpenter from 2B to 3B. They would then insert Kolten Wong at 2B. I am not convinced that Wong is ready to assume the 2B duties on a regular basis. He proved this last year batting .153 with no homers or RBIs. He needs a little more development time but will probably be rushed into duty.
If RF Carlos Beltran is not re-signed the Cards will probably move Allan Craig to RF and insert Matt Adams at first. Beltran was a great asset but the team could survive without him.
The team could also use a better back-up catcher. Yadier Molina is one of the best catchers to have ever played the game but when he went down with an injury last year, the team struggled.
The pitching staff is an area of great strength for the Cards. They have some of the best arms in the game and a strong minor league system that keeps cranking out solid pitching. The team could probably give up Lance Lynn also in their search for a shortsop.
The Cardinals should be strong again next season. I think the NL pennant should again come down to St. Louis and the Los Angelas Dodgers. If the Cards can address their few weaknesses they will have another shot at the World Series.