Cards GM John Mozeliak Indicates That He's Willling to Trade Pitching for a Young Shortstop

The St. Louis Cardinals are coming off a season that most teams would consider a big success.  The team led the National League in Wins in the regular season, and then went on to win the NLCS and advance to the World Series.  However in the series, they would lose to the Boston Red Sox in six games.  For a team that has won two championships in the last seven years, and eleven titles over all though, nothing less than the Championship is to be accepted, and so general manager John Mozeliak will look to improve his team this offseason.

Already strong in most areas, when any observer takes a long look at the Cardinals roster there is one position that has a giant neon “NEEDS IMPROVEMENT” sign over it, and that spot is shortstop.  Rafael Furcal was supposed to be the starter, but his injured elbow required Tommy John surgery and he did not play a single game this season.  The regular starter Pete Kozma provided some good defence, and plenty of heart and hustle, but at .217/.275/.273 at the plate, he is brutal at the plate.

With Furcal, Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook, and Carlos Beltran (who could be replaced by super prospect Oscar Tavares) all coming off the team payroll, the Cardinals have plenty of money to spend this winter.  They could address their hole at short by going after free agent Stephen Drew (who would require a first round pick given to the Red Sox in compensation), or with an offer to Jhonny Peralta who looks to be leaving the Detroit Tigers.  However, these options do not seem to be on the top of Mozeliak’s wish list.

Meanwhile with Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Joe Kelly, Jaime Garcia, Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller, and Lance Lynn all under contract, the Cardinals have eight pitchers who could be regular starters on their roster right now.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that their biggest strength is the depth of young pitching that they have accumulated.

And so when Mozeliak appeared on a satellite radio show on XM89 yesterday and indicated that the Cardinals are willing to trade young pitching for a short stop, not many were surprised.  In fact, Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Cardinals will be talking to the Rockies about Troy Tulowitzki at the winter meetings. Meanwhile Fox Sports is reporting that Elvis Andrus could be available. Given the quality of pitching that the Cardinals could dangle in trade talks, with Garcia, Kelly, Lynn, and Miller (being the most expendable to the least expendable but still available player) there could be others who would be available as well.

Its an interesting situation to say the least, as the Cardinals look to take another run at getting another ring, and add another bat to their high scoring lineup.


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