While the Cardinals came within one game of making it to the World Series in 2012 and all eight of its starting position players are set to come back for 2013, I'm surprised the team hasn't done more this off-season.
I didn't figure the front office was going to do a lot on the free agent market. What I expected was a deal from its surplus of young pitching. As much as I hate to see the club give up on young talent, I just don't see where all the right handed hurlers are going to fit onto the 25 man roster.
Projected pitching staff:
SP Chris Carpenter
SP Adam Wainwright
SP Jake Westbrook
SP Jaime Garcia
SP Lance Lynn
RP Jason Motte
RP Marc Rzepczynski
RP Mitchell Boggs
RP Randy Choate
RP Edward Mujica
RP Joe Kelley
RP Trevor Rosenthal
Shelby Miller: I don't see how the Cardinals can leave Miller off the major league roster after bringing him up in September. Maybe they could send him back for a month or two for final polishing. But anything more than that would seem to be a waste now that his major league clock is running.
Fernando Salas: He struggled a bit last season. But the body of work is hard to ignore. Salas has allowed 134 hits in 164 1/3 major league innings. He's walked 63 and struck out 164 in that span.
Eduardo Sanchez: He melted down after being shipped out at the end of spring training last year. But he probably has the best breaking stuff on the team and I still believe he has the makings of a fantastic late innings reliever. Like Salas, he's got a ridiculous hits allowed to innings pitched ratio: 45 innings pitched, 25 hits. He's walked 29 in his career. But he's struck our more than a batter an innings, 48.
Sam Freeman: He showed intriguing stuff when he was called up in 2012. But the signing of Randy Choate makes me wonder if he's expendable. Choate is 37. But he has a three-year-deal. So the Cardinals seem to be relatively well covered in the immediate future from the left side of the bullpen.
There's not a guy on this list that I don't like. But it seems far fetched to keep them all. And it would make more sense to trade a couple of them to try to land some help at other need spots. Even if Jaime Garcia can't go because of a continuation of his arm problems from last season, Kelly, Rosenthal or Miller could easily slip into the fifth slot in the rotation.