Pujols' return is considered Plan A. If the three-time NL Most Valuable Player ultimately signs elsewhere, the Cardinals are prepared to transfer Berkman to first base and anoint Allen Craig starting right fielder.I like Skip and he makes a great addition to the club. Whether Theriot remains a Cardinal does not bother me one bit but Skip can be starter or a defensive replacement.
Mozeliak says he has no plans to tinker with a rotation that regains 2010 NL Cy Young Award runner-up Adam Wainwright and has five members under contract through next season. "As of now, I don't see that as an area of need," Mozeliak said.
Acquiring a second lefthanded reliever to complement Marc Rzepczynski and clarifying a vague situation at shortstop are more pressing.
Mozeliak projects Daniel Descalso as next season's starting second baseman with incumbent Skip Schumaker ticketed for a 'super utility" role should the club avoid arbitration. The plan may leave Theriot, last season's opening day shortstop, a nontender candidate in search of a more robust role elsewhere.
Descalso appeared at second base in only nine of 63 starts last season. He started 53 games at third base — most of them while David Freese recovered from a fractured hand — and was solid enough to receive consideration for a Gold Glove.
Descalso's arm and glove are "plus" tools; however, his range at second base was considered no better than average during his time with Class AAA Memphis in 2010. Promoted to the parent club that September, Descalso played 73 of 74 innings at third base, not second.
Mozeliak explained succinctly: "I think he's a very good baseball player who can handle the position."
Mo and La Russa, however, appeared to have some differences regarding that of Tyler Greene. While Mo works to bring back Furcal for next year, he had this to say:
Mozeliak won't confine his projection for Greene to a reserve role, saying, "I would have no problem with him and Descalso as our middle infield."The article mentions bringing back Nick Punto.
There's even talk of using one of the catching prospects to backup Yadier Molina--either Tony Cruz or Bryan Anderson. Hey, I have no problem there. Sure, they won't be a regular starter but I don't mind someone that is tearing it up in the minors to get a chance with the Cardinals. Matheny seems to be a fan or Cruz and Anderson backing up Molina so there's an incentive.
Mozeliak endorses Jon Jay as an everyday center fielder rather than the lefthanded half of a platoon. With Schumaker as more of an extra outfielder than an infield regular, Greene could become available for spot center field duty against some lefthanded pitching.
The Cardinals apparently are ready to also break with a long-standing tradition of having veteran backup catchers as Mozeliak envisions Tony Cruz and longtime prospect Bryan Anderson competing for the role next spring.
Cruz, 25, bypassed Anderson, 24, on the organizational depth chart last summer and earned praise as a capable pinch hitter and mature backstop. Anderson, without options and considered a potential candidate for release last summer, never earned La Russa's confidence. However, Mike Matheny, one of the candidates for manager, offered positive reports on the lefthanded-hitting Anderson's defensive development in his role as a roving catching instructor.