A look at the Cardinals free agents. A huge decision for John Mozeliak as he puts his stamp on the storied franchise.
Free Agents (ranked importance):
Albert Pujols (Type A 1B)
The day has come. Pujols is free to sign with any team. St. Louis should do everything they can to resign Pujols. He is the best player in the game, and possibly the best player ever. His winning instincts, leadership, and presence are irreplaceable. I love Allen Craig, but he is no Albert.
Octavio Dotel (Type A RP)
I am still not sold on Jason Motte as a closer. He is a headcase, plain and simple. His straight fastball is always prone to being hit a mile. Major league hitters can sit on his fastball, unintimidated by 100 MPH. Dotel brought a veteran leadership to a young bullpen. (He had a big influence on Rzepczynski) He was clutch. He had the best swing-and-miss rate of any Cardinal bullpen pitcher in the postseason.
Rafael Furcal (Type B SS)
Furcals offense waned in the postseason. Though, lets not forget his clutch moments. He scored the only run in game 5 of the NLDS. He hit a big homerun in game 6 of the NLCS. He went 2-3 with an RBI on a HBP in game 7 of the World Series. He hit a huge home run against the Chicago Cubs to avoid losing 2/3 during the final home stand. Oh, and his defense…beautiful. Depending on how much he asks for, he should be given serious consideration.
Nick Punto (unranked 2B)
Quality versatile defender. A true “LaRussa” player. I do wonder what his value is with LaRussa gone. He played a lot in the post season but only hit .171 (6-35) He also visited the disabled list twice.
Edwin Jackson (Type B SP)
He pitched admirably down the stretch (5-2 3.58 ERA) but struggled in the post season (1-1 5.60 ERA) He would be nice to have back but with starting pitching thin in this years free agent crop, Jackson could command a lot of money.
Arthur Rhodes (Type B RP)
Flawless in 8 appearances during postseason. Was not so spectacular in regular season for STL. Low priority.
Gerald Laird (unranked C)
Laird handled the pitching staff fine. In-house candidate Tony Cruz likely replacement.
Corey Patterson (unranked OF)
Enjoy that ring.
If St. Louis is unable to re-sign Pujols…
I think they should make a legitimate run at acquiring a big time player via trade such as Matt Kemp. The Dodgers are bankrupt. They are looking for a new owner and Matt Kemp is arbitration eligible…his salary will certainly be jacked up after an MVP-like year. The Cardinals should also look for a considerable upgrade at shortstop. Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, and Furcal are the best free agent options.
I would also invest in a pitcher. Be it starter or reliever, after 2011 we can all agree that teams can never have enough pitching.
- 2011 Cardinals: a Lesson in Unorthodox Style (elmaquino5.wordpress.com)
- Cliff Corcoran: NL Central Hot Stove preview: Brewers, Cards have similar issues (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Champs must find way to keep Pujols in St. Louis (nypost.com)
- Cards decline options on Furcal, Dotel (mlb.mlb.com)