The Cardinals have $6-$7 million left to spend but are trying to decide whether to spend it now or wait for a mid-season acquisition, according to mlb.com's Matthew Leach.
If there are actually players that the Redbirds like who are available now, I don't see why they don't pounce on them.
First, you get more bang for your buck -- especially in this off-season's down free agent market -- if you have the benefits of a player all season. Second, there has been much made of the fact that the Cardinals depleted their farm system last year at the trade deadline. So, if a player they like becomes available mid-season, it may not matter how much cash they have on hand if they have no prospects to trade.
While the Birds could develop holes over the course of the season that they would like to be able to fill, there are already holes that are apparent now.
Even if a minor leaguer like Allen Craig can be a productive bench bat -- which is a big if since he has absolutely no major league experience -- Craig is a terrible fielder who barely can play the outfield corners. He does nothing to address the need for a fourth outfielder and he does nothing to improve the team's depth in the infield.
Felipe Lopez played last season for $3.5 million for the Diamondbacks. He seems to have no other potential suitors besides the Cardinals. What's the holdup?
The Cardinals need a late inning man in the bullpen and Russ Springer is still looking for a job as are John Smoltz and Braden Looper. The first one to take $2 million gets the job.
Springer is the best of the three as a reliever at this point because of his experience and Smoltz's health. One of the reasons the Cardinals seem to have cooled on Smoltz is that his worn down shoulder doesn't seem likely to let him pitch as frequently as he would need to if he was a set-up man. Looper, who is the least accomplished of the three pitchers is said to be demanding the most money...
I'd love to think there is a Larry Walker type player to be had mid-season. But I think the safer bet would be to build the team to be as deep as it can be made now and cross your fingers that the starters and the core of the offense stay healthy. Because if they don't there isn't going to be much the Redbirds are going to be able to do about it anyway.