The Redbird Report 11/13

Citing an expected return to top form of some injured players (Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols), new general manager John Mozeliak said he didn't think the position-player core of the club needed to change that much.

"Last year, we were definitely a victim of injuries," Mozeliak said. "I think that played heavily in our overall record. There are some very big pieces who should be in a better position to contribute."

Mozeliak said he was looking into resolving the on-going conflict between Rolen and manager Tony La Russa and already has discussed the matter with Seth and Sam Levinson, Rolen's agents.

Rolen, perhaps not seeing an end in sight, is believed to be open to waiving his no-trade protection. However, Rolen is coming off a third left shoulder surgery, and he is due $36 million for the next three seasons, making it hard to trade him this offseason.

Mozeliak said he, club chairman Bill DeWitt and La Russa were "trying to resolve this from within. If for some reason it doesn't work, we'll pursue alternatives.

"It's fair to say there are some things out there."


--The Cardinals, traditionally among leaders in NL Gold Glove winners, had none this year. 1B Albert Pujols, the 2006 winner, lost out to the Cubs' Derrek Lee. C Yadier Molina, despite being the best throwing catcher in the league at 23-for-46 last season, lost out to the Dodgers' Russell Martin. Molina, who suffered through hand and knee injuries, started only 102 games.

--The Cardinals didn't pick up the $1.1 million option on veteran OF So Taguchi, instead buying him out for $100,000. Taguchi, a .290 hitter last season, is not a free agent but is arbitration-eligible. He is 38, and the Cardinals aren't likely to offer him a contract because he might get more than $1.1 million via arbitration.

--The Cardinals remain in search of starting pitchers to provide depth until injured RHP Chris Carpenter (July) and LHP Mark Mulder (May) return. Talks with free agent SS David Eckstein have stagnated, as the 2006 World Series MVP probably will see what his market is before entertaining an offer from the Cardinals. But he is more likely to return now that the Chicago White Sox have re-signed SS Juan Uribe.

--LHP Mike Maroth, who struggled mightily for the Cardinals after they acquired him from the Tigers in late June, was released.

Maroth had a strong debut with St. Louis, permitting one run and two hits in 7 1/3 innings against the Mets at Shea Stadium. Thereafter, he was 0-5 with a 10.66 ERA and gave up 68 hits and 55 runs in his last 30 2/3 innings with the Cardinals.

--The Cardinals were only moderately in the Curt Schilling sweepstakes before the right-hander re-signed with Boston. "I don't see the free agent market providing us with what would make us that much better," general manager John Mozeliak said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Number of times this century (this year) that the Cardinals have not had a Gold Glove winner.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think there's a tougher job in the game than being a general manager." -- Manager Tony La Russa, after the Cardinals gave their GM job to assistant GM John Mozeliak.

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