The Christmas and New Year's holidays have come and gone, and the Cardinals continue to play the waiting game with Matt Holliday. Just when the rumor mill seems to be pointing toward a contract being imminent, another week goes by with absolutely no activity. Given the lack of other potential suitors that are apparently in the mix, I've got to wonder what Holliday is waiting on. Most likely it is advice from Scott Boras urging him to wait for a better offer. The Cards' offer is apparently anywhere from 6 to 8 years, with an average annual value of $17M. I personally do not think he will receive an offer nearly as good as that one (assuming it is actually in that range), and I've got to think we'll see a signing very soon.
Thinking positively that Holliday will sign, does that mean the Cards are done in their winter pursuits, or will there be enough left to make additional roster adds? The Cardinal free agents (Pineiro, Wellemeyer, Glaus, Greene, Ankiel, Holliday, Thompson, Holliday and DeRosa) earned about $40.5M from the Cards in 2009. Raises on existing contracts will be about $6M. Brad Penny was signed for $7.5M. Arbitration will probably add another $4m in payroll. Assuming Holliday gets say, $18M, it only leaves about $5M of the $40M left to work with. Will that be enough to make any adds? Probably nothing major, but there is always the possibility the Cards could slightly increase payroll compared to where it was at the end of 2009. There are really three areas that need addressed:
- Pitching: There has been talk of adding a veteran 5th starter, but I think a Holliday signing precludes that possibility. A starting foursome of Wainwright, Carpenter, Penny and Kyle Lohse is pretty solid, and with a couple of young possibilities in Mitchell Boggs and Jaime Garcia, the Cards remaining dollars are probably best spent elsewhere.
- 3rd Base: Very thin here, given that David Freese currently holds the position. Given what the Cards gave up to get Mark DeRosa last summer, I was surprised they didn't make more of a play for him, even with not knowing where they stood with Holliday. The 2 year $6M per year deal he got from the Giants probably could have been fit into the Cards' payroll for 2010-11. Rumors have indicated the Cards have interest in Miguel Tejada, but could he fit in the payroll along with a Holliday signing? There have also been rumors of interest in Felipe Lopez, so he could potentially fit into the 3rd base mix as well.
- Outfield: Holliday would join Colby Rasmus and Ryan Ludwick as the only established major league outfielders on the roster. For depth, the Cards will rely on Memphis players like Nick Stavinoha, Allen Craid, Shane Robinson and John Jay. If they decide to go with Freese at 3rd base, one guy that interests me is Randy Winn, formerly of the Giants. His starting days are probably over, but he could be a valuable fourth outfielder in St. Louis, given his ability to pinch hit, play all 3 outfield positions and provide a little bit of speed off the bench.
Whichever way they go, the next few weeks promise to be an interesting time for Cardinal Nation. Hang on, I think the wait is about over.