As the free agent filing period continued Tuesday, second baseman Ronnie Belliard, utility player Scott Spiezio, shortstop Jose Vizcaino and pitcher Jeff Weaver joined catcher Gary Bennett as Cardinals who have filed.There you have it. I have no problems with the bullpen. Remember, when Rincon went on the DL, he was replaced with John Gall on the roster. Eventually, Tyler Johnson found his way to the big leagues. So did Kinney.
The flurry occurred as third base coach Jose Oquendo interviewed for the San Diego Padres managerial vacancy. Oquendo traveled to San Diego on Monday and met with general manager Kevin Towers well into Tuesday night. The Padres are expected to conclude a first round of interviews this weekend, with two finalists to be invited for a second round next week.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals will contribute four leading starting pitchers to the market. Besides Weaver, Jeff Suppan, Jason Marquis and lefthander Mark Mulder are set to file.
"We're trying to bring back as many guys as we can. But at the same time we fully realize this could be a tough market, especially for pitchers," Jocketty said.
"Our priority is to rebuild our rotation. We want to find the best quality starting pitcher and the best quality hitter. And I'm not sure who those players are right now."
Any pursuit will come after the Cardinals address center fielder Jim Edmonds' $10 million option for next season. The club has until Nov. 15 to assume the option, exercise a $3 million buyout or negotiate an extension.
Jocketty reiterated Tuesday the club's desire to bring back Edmonds for an eighth season. What he left unsaid was an organizational desire to do so for less than $10 million next season.
"We want him back with us next season," Jocketty said. "It's something I told Jim last week. I would expect to see what can be done relatively soon."
Edmonds' agent, Paul Cohen, said talks have yet to occur but indicated that lines of communication are open. "We've always had a good relationship," Cohen said. "I would expect we'll talk soon."
Edmonds is scheduled to have surgery on his right shoulder in the next two to three weeks.[...]
Former Cardinals righthander Woody Williams has told friends he would be interested in returning to the Cardinals as well. Williams, 40, was 12-5 with a 3.65 ERA for the NL West champion San Diego Padres this season.
Jocketty said he considers Anthony Reyes part of the 2007 rotation but said Adam Wainwright's role would be determined by what transpires between now and February.
Wainwright, 25, became a relief sensation after failing to win a spot in the rotation in spring training. Given a chance to close after a hip condition disabled Jason Isringhausen, the rookie delivered the final pitch of each postseason round.
"I believe Wainwright's role will be determined by what we do this offseason," Jocketty said. "If we fill the rotation with people from outside the organization, he may remain where he is. If we can't, we may have to look at him as a starter."
The issue is further complicated by Isringhausen's expected absence early next season.
Regardless, the Cardinals' bullpen is unusually settled. Braden Looper, Josh Hancock, Josh Kinney, Randy Flores, Tyler Johnson, Brad Thompson and Ricardo Rincon remain under control.
"There is far more certainty there than the rotation," Jocketty said.
The biggest thing to me is SP and 2B.