FanPost

An Unlikely Blueprint to a Better 2014 Cardinals Team and Beyond

Hello VEB! I've been a lurker for quite some time, and have always enjoyed the knowledgeable and humorous atmosphere. After discussing possible improvements with a friend for the Cardinals quite frequently, I'd figure I'd pass my ideas past the good people here! This article could be considered a bit of timeline from today until the beginning of the 2014 season, feel free to agree, disagree, or suggest improvements to my moves. Thanks!

Now, let's look at the Cardinal's current lineup and roster.

St. Louis Cardinals (65-46, 2nd Place in NL Central, 4.5 Games up in 1st Wild Card Spot)

Lineup:

1. Matt Carpenter 2B

2. Carlos Beltran RF

3. Allen Craig 1B

4. Matt Holliday LF

5. David Freese 3B

6. Jon Jay CF

7. Tony Cruz C (Filling in for the injured Yadier Molina on the 15-Day DL)

8. Pete Kozma SS

Bench:

Adron Chambers OF

Matt Adams 1B

Brock Peterson OF

Rob Johnson C

Daniel Descalso IF

Rotation:

Adam Wainright RHP

Lance Lynn RHP

Jake Westbrook RHP

Shelby Miller RHP

Joe Kelly RHP

Bullpen:

CL Edward Mujica RHP

SU Trevor Rosenthal RHP

LOOGY Randy Choate LHP

MR Kevin Siegrist LHP

MR Seth Maness RHP

MR Keith Butler RHP

MR Michael Blazek RHP


Okay, so, this is a pretty damn good roster to be honest, but my mind will run at times. So I have some possible moves for you all.

Before the Waiver Trade Deadline:

St. Louis Cardinals trade Matt Holliday and Stephen Piscotty to Texas Rangers for Elvis Andrus

In my experience, being somebody who lives a few minutes away from Busch Stadium and is a frequent attendee of Cardinals Baseball, wherever you are in Busch Stadium you can see at least one Matt Holliday shirt/jersey, so one might see why this move wouldn't sit well with the fans. Normally, I wouldn't even fathom trading away a core player like Holliday, but you have to consider the situation the Texas Rangers are in. It's no secret that the Rangers are desperate for a replacement for recently suspended Nelson Cruz, and some reports have stated that they'd even be able to give up Elvis Andrus for a middle of the order bat with a decent amount of contract control. This move would certainly be putting the Cardinal's chances of going deep into the Postseason at risk, but personally, putting that on line for a long term (on contract until 2023) and solid shortstop might be necessary. Piscotty is a solid 3B/OF prospect, but he's just an add-in in order to get this deal across.

In the Offseason:

Cardinals Sign Carlos Beltran to a 2 Year, 26 Million Dollar Contract

Carlos Beltran could possibly be a well sought after free agent this season, so the price of this contract might need to go up in order to entice Beltran, but the Cardinals could still use his skill set in the middle of their order. Beltran produced good numbers for the Cardinals in his time here, and he has stated that he would like to return to St. Louis.

Cardinals Trade David Freese and Mid Level Prospect to the Boston Red Sox for Felix Doubront

This is another of those moves that wouldn't sit very well with Cardinal Nation, based on seemingly half of it's obsession with David Freese. The reality of this is that aside from his postseason heroics, David Freese has been a wildly inconsistent and frustrating player. Trading Freese away gives Matt Carpenter a chance to return to his home position of third base and allows Major League ready Kolten Wong to start at second to begin the season. In Felix Doubront, you're getting a solid middle of the rotation starter who started out the season badly but has righted his ship and looks to finish the season very strong. He's also under contract until 2017.

Cardinals Sign Mark DeRosa to a 1 Year, 3 Million Dollar Contract

The Cardinals, in need of a bench piece with pop, could sign DeRosa in order to get some infield and outfield depth. DeRosa, a former Cardinal, is also a great clubhouse man and his veteran presence could certainly help the young players.

Cardinals do not pick up Jake Westbrook's option and let him become a free agent

Though this is certainly a bold move based on the consistency and over-achievement of Jake Westbrook, it's simply the fact that we have too many quality starting pitchers that we need to pay 9.5 million for another one.

During Spring Training:

Jaime Garcia Wins 5th Rotation Spot

Though Joe Kelly has filled in admirably so far in his rotation stint, but if things stay the way they are a rotation battle between Jaime Garcia, Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, and Michael Wacha is likely. Seeing as the cause of Jaime's issues in the past two years might be solved with his season ending surgery, expect Jaime to rebound and take the rotation spot out of Spring Training.

Oscar Taveras beats Jon Jay to win the starting Center Fielder job

Jon Jay, regardless of his offense struggles this season, has always played his position with authority and certainly should deserve to keep his job is he keeps heating up. But the question the Cardinals have to ask themselves is how long can they keep Oscar Taveras in the minor leagues? Injury aside, Taveras has hit whenever he's healthy, and should be able to take the job with his bat.

Allen Craig shifts to Left Field, Matt Adams starts at First Base

With Matt Holliday out of the picture, the Cardinals either have the choice to go out and get a replacement, or simply allow their organizational depth to take care of the problem. Allen Craig is a capable outfielder, and his vacancy at first allows Matt Adams to start full time, which replaces Matt Holliday's bat admirably in the middle of the Cardinal's lineup.

Matt Carpenter shifts to Third Base, Kolten Wong starts at Second Base

As previously covered, this move allows the Cardinals to finally give Kolten Wong a place to play. An all-around solid player, Wong replaces David Freese's production with a much cheaper price at a more premium position.

Jason Motte beats Trevor Rosenthal for the Closer's role

With Edward Mujica undoubtedly leaving St. Louis for more money, the closer's role should come down to a battle between the returning Jason Motte and the current setup man, Trevor Rosenthal. If Motte can return and produce at the level he did before Tommy John, he should take over the closer's role at least for this year.

2014 Cardinals Lineup and Roster

Lineup:

1. Matt Carpenter 3B

2. Elvis Andrus SS

3. Yadier Molina C

4. Allen Craig LF

5. Carlos Beltran RF

6. Oscar Taveras CF

7. Matt Adams 1B

8. Kolten Wong 2B

Bench:

Daniel Descalso IF

Jon Jay CF

Tony Cruz C

Brock Peterson OF

Mark DeRosa IF/OF

Rotation:

Adam Wainright RHP

Shelby Miller RHP

Lance Lynn RHP

Felix Doubront LHP

Jaime Garcia LHP

Bullpen:

CL Jason Motte RHP

SU Trevor Rosenthal

LOOGY Randy Choate LHP

MR Joe Kelly RHP

MR Kevin Siegrist LHP

MR Seth Maness RHP

MR Keith Butler RHP


Like I said, feedback is always appreciated, thanks!

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