MLB writer: St. Louis Cardinals have had the 4th worst off-season

Posted by Scott Wuerz on January 1, 2014 

If the St. Louis Cardinals made the right moves to get back to the World Series, only time will tell.

But I think most Redbirds rooters are pretty content, with six weeks to go before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, that the front office has done everything it should to move the team forward and give it a chance to win both now and later.

You wouldn't know that, however, if you only read the story on mlb.com which confidently declares that the Cardinals had one of the worst off-seasons in all of the major leagues. Writer Phil Rogers names the Cardinals the fourth "most damaged" team this winter.

Why? Because he doesn't think the Redbirds did enough to replace slugging outfielder Carlos Beltran or veteran ace Chris Carpenter. Beltran signed a free agent deal with the New York Yankees while Carpenter, who pitched less than 18 innings over the past two seasons because of a nerve injury that causes him shoulder weakness, decided to retire.

He opines that Peter Bourjos, acquired in trade from Anaheim for David Freese, is no suitable replacement for Beltran. I wonder if he knows that Bourjos will likely take playing time away from Jon Jay in centerfield not be the starter in right. Or maybe he doesn't know that Beltran hasn't played centerfield in several years.

I wonder what it is that Rogers expected the Redbirds to do? Should they have signed Beltran to a $45-million, three-year contract so he could block top prospect Oscar Tavares from the big leagues? So they could put slugging first baseman back on the bench with Allen Craig pushed back to first base?

Rogers yawned at the acquisition of Jhonny Peralta through free agency. He said Peralta has too many question marks behind his name because of his suspension last season. Ironically, however, he pegs the Detroit Tigers as the third "most damaged" team in baseball. One of the reasons is that the team will dearly miss all the things that Peralta brings to the table. 

It is noted that Carpenter's innings can be made up by Carlos Martinez -- but that Carp will mostly be missed because of his leadership. Shhh... don't tell Rogers Carpenter plans to be a spring training instructor and then be around the team in St. Louis as he transitions to a front office role. The name of wonder rookie Michael Wacha is also NOT mentioned. Again, should the Birds have spent a bunch of free agent money on a veteran starter when there's no room in the rotation?

I don't mean to be critical of another writer. It's pretty difficult to know everything about every team. But I just hate these list stories where a scribe has a template to fill out without a complete premise behind it. Just mention as many key words as possible to make sure people click on it whether or not there is anything compelling to keep them reading. I guess that's where journalism is headed. It's a fast food world.

So, it dawns on me that this grouchy post is my first contribution to 2014. Um... happy new year?

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