Are the Cards done spending?
With the recent additions of Rafael Furcal, J.C. Romero, and Carlos Beltran many think that the Cardinals are done spending. They may be right. The estimated payroll is above 100 and nearing 110 million when Motte and McClellan get their pay raises in arbitration.
At the end of the regular season Bill Dewitt said the payroll would go no higher than 110 million. The Cardinals don’t have any major holes to fill, their rotation is set, outfield is set, the only real question mark is infield depth. The only realistic move that I could see happening is the Cardinals signing a veteran utility infielder, someone like Wilson Betemit or Orlando Cabrera. Another possibility which is a major stretch is the Cardinals trading either Kyle Lohse or Jake Westbrook to free up some payroll and maybe sign an infielder or a veteran pitcher like Roy Oswalt, but like I said that is a far stretch and it probably won’t happen. Westbrook and Lohse are comfortable here and they have full no trade clauses which means they are not going anywhere.
There are many veteran infielders available that could add depth, leadership, and club house personality. I think one of the most important things that make a winning team is the depth of the roster, and the Cardinals have done this the past few years. When a star player get’s hurt the team needs to have a solid and reliable back up plan. When Holliday went down we had Jon Jay and Allen Craig, when David Freese went down we had Daniel Descalso making great plays and having clutch at bats.
Depth is important and the Cardinals already added depth to the outfield with the Beltran signing, they now have Holliday, Jay, Craig, Skip Schumaker, and even Lance Berkman that could all go in the outfield if needed. So the Cardinals might want to have the same security with the middle infield, as of now they have Rafael Furcal who has a bad injury history, Tyler Greene who has struggled to play at the major league level, Skip Schumaker who has struggled defensively, and Daniel Descalso who is entering his sophomore season next year.
The Cardinals should definitely pursue a guy like Wilson Betemit or Orlando Cabrera. Betemit who is just 30 years old was a key player for the Tigers down the stretch of the season, last season with the Royals and Tigers he hit .285 with 8 HR and 46 RBI’s and he played first, second and third base. Betemit also can play short so he is reliable to play all infield positions if needed, plus he can hit for contact and he has some pop.
Cabrera on the other hand is a much more seasoned player than Betemit and has experience playing in the NL Central, he was a member of the 2010 Reds that won the NL Central. Cabrera is a career .272 hitter with 123 HR and 854 RBI’s. He is 37 years old so his price tag shouldn’t be too high and the Cardinals could easily sign him for one or two million if he has no other suitors. Cabrera is a talented player with a great club house presence and he has experience winning. He like Betemit can play all of the infield positions and is a reliable back up option. Cabrera has two gold gloves at short stop back in his younger days with a career .977 fielding percentage at short.
So to answer the question the Cardinals may be done spending, do not expect any more major moves there will be no Ryan Madson or Prince Fielder but they might try to sign a veteran utility player. If they don’t they might wait until spring training to see how healthy the club is before making another move, you never know who is going to get hurt and miss the entire season.