Cardinals quiet. But maybe that's not a bad thing

Posted by Scott Wuerz on January 16, 2013 

I'm a little bit surprised that the Cardinals haven't done a little bit more this off season.

I certainly didn't think a team that fell on game short of the World Series seemed in desperate need of an overhaul. Especially when they addressed their greatest need late in 2012 when they made over the bullpen.

But the team has glaring needs in the middle of the infield with shortstop Rafael Furcal's health in doubt and with their being no doubt that he's getting pretty long in the tooth for a guy whose game depends on speed and agility.

I figured the Birds would make a trade to address the shortstop situation. And that feeling was only made stronger when middle infielders like Marco Scutaro and Stephen Drew signed for ridiculous amounts of money.

Still, we're less than a month away from the beginning of spring training and all we have to show for it is the addition of Ty Wigginton and Randy Choate.

I thought the Cardinals would try to make a trade for a long term shortstop, possibly trading Lance Lynn and Matt Adams for Elvis Andrus from the Rangers or Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians. The logic is that the Redbirds currently have eight legitimate candidates for the starting rotation -- Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia, Lynn, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal -- but only five places to put them.

Some are nervous about the health of Carpenter and Garcia. But baseball analyst Bill James seems to be confident in the St. Louis hurlers. James predicts Carpenter will be healthy enough to make 27 starts and that he'll pitch to a 3.25 ERA which ought to give him a good chance to make it deep into double figures in wins. He predicts that Garcia is going to be just fine as well with 27 starts and an ERA of 3.42. Not bad at all for a fourth starter.

But James thinks that Lynn is no fluke and predicts he'll perform very similarly to how he fared in 2012 when he won 18 games.

So, I'm in no hurry to give away Lynn or Adams, evaluated by some as the Cardinals' second-best position playing prospect.

While it hasn't been very exciting to watch this off-season unfold, the club has the potential to be a very good all around team. And if it has problems, General Manager John Mozeliak still has the bait to make a deal and fill in the holes. So I am content to hold the fort and wait for the spring training games to start before judging this team.

I still believe if the Cardinals are going to make a significant move in the next month that it ought to be to try to sign Wainwright to a contract extension like they did with catcher Yadier Molina last spring.

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