So the Cincinnati Reds are officially the NL Central Champs for 2010. This insures that the Cardinals will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years, and allows us to look ahead to a busy Redbird off-season.
Based on the comments of Tony La Russa to Joe Strauss of 101 ESPN and Dave Duncan to the Bernie Miklasz show on Tuesday, it appears that duo is returning to the dugout. That guarantees the style of baseball the Cardinals will play and pitch with.
The Cardinals will be a slugging team, so they need to add a couple of sluggers. La Russa wants a get-on-base leadoff man, and then sluggers in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth spots in the order. At the moment, the Cards have three sluggers…Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus. Assuming Rasmus hits second or sixth, the Redbirds are going to have to find two big bats…probably a right fielder and a third baseman.
Additionally, they need to find a new keystone combo…two guys that can turn a double play, and at least one that can hit leadoff. Since Yadier Molina is going to be on the team, the other middle infielder needs to be a hitter, too. Oh, and the Cardinals are going to need a back end of the rotation starter, too.
I would love to see them get players from among the likes of Dan Uggla, Steven Drew, Jayson Werth, Andre Ethier and Kevin Kouzmanoff. But the Cardinals don’t have many prospects to trade, and have about $29 million to fit under their self-imposed $100 million cap.
Sadly, it’s going to be extraordinarily difficult for the Cardinals to build a great team for 2011. Once again, the lack of young players coming through the system and a bad contract to Kyle Lohse will limit the club.
John Mozeliak better be REALLY creative this off-season, or 2011 will be another rough season for the Cardinals.