Cardinals GM John Mozeliak and Manager Mike Matheny were at Busch Stadium on Thursday to talk to the media about the end of the season and moving forward to 2013. What we know so far is that Lance Berkman will not be back with the team next year. If he comes back to play another year of ball, he would only be a bench player for the club and that is not a viable option.
The Cardinals will not re-sign Kyle Lohse, the team’s most consistent pitcher. At 32, and many young arms coming up, they can save the money.
Rafael Furcal (elbow) and starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (shoulder) will not have surgery and elect for offseason rehab.
Kevin Wheeler, the pre and postgame host for Cardinals baseball on KMOX-AM, joins me on this Pressbox Podcast to look back at the 2012 season and the what he says is a bright future for Cardinals baseball. I asked him if the window of opportunity for the Cardinals to be successful is actually closing and he scoffed at the idea saying the next 3-5 years look very promising. I still believe there are some big question marks.
AUDIO Listen to Kevin on the Pressbox Podcast (16:00)
My main concerns are the health of this team? Can aging players Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal come back and/or stay healthy to put together productive seasons? If Jaime Garcia is not ready to go, can young arms like Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal hold up over the grind of 32 starts in a season? Plus, at 38, is Chris Carpenter good for one more year?
I expect Carpenter and Adam Wainwright to come back strong. Up the middle the club is strong with Yadier Molina behind the plate and Jon Jay emerging as a star centerfielder. Allen Craig and David Freese will give 20+ homers and averages near .300 at the corners, and the back end of the bullpen with Jason Motte as the closer is solid. If guys like Miller and Rosenthal start, as always, concerns rise with middle relief.