Cardinals Winter Meeting Notebook 12/03

The St. Louis Cardinals are at the Winter Meetings in Nashville shopping third baseman Scott Rolen, but at the end of Day 1, the Cardinals are no closer to a deal than they were two weeks ago.

Despite all the talk about Scott Rolen at the Winter Meetings, the Cardinals top priority is the still the search for starting pitching.

"I'd say the most pressing matter is to see if we can address our starting pitching," the Cardinals new general manager John Mozeliak said in an interview Monday evening.

Mozeliak said that it was a very active first day, that he had try to hit the ground running holding meetings with other teams about potential trades for starters, and meeting with the agents for some free-agent earlier in the day as well.

There are at least four clubs that have expressed an interest in Rolen, to include the Cardinals' National League Central Division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers.

Brewers GM Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash met with Mozeliak Monday morning. While the details of a potential trade with the Brewers isn't available, the main players would apparently be Scott Rolen for starting pitcher Chris Capuano. The sticking point in this proposed trade continues to be if the Cardinals would also send money to Milwaukee to cover Rolen's salary and what other players may be included in a deal.

Mozeliak told reporters. "Unless we feel like we're really improving our club, our intentions would be for Scott Rolen to be a part of our club in 2008."

Other clubs that are believed to have expressed an interest in Rolen, include the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants.

Rumors circulated Monday that the Cardinals may be interested in Texas Ranger's third baseman Hank Blalock. Mozeliak said he had talked to the Rangers about two weeks ago, but didn't exchange any specific names.

Mozeliak added that the Cardinals weren't at the point, in any trade talks concerning Rolen, that included the exchanging of names.


IN OTHER NEWS

Mark Mulder: is not expected to be ready to start the 2008 season on time. The Cardinals plan to start the season with a four-man rotation, expecting Mulder to be ready to join the rotation by the end of April or the beginning of May.

Jim Edmonds: the center fielder has expressed his willingness to waive his "no-trade clause" if he were traded to a Southern California team, according to a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. The San Diego Padres are among the clubs believed to have some interest in Edmonds. According to the Cardinals GM Monday, dealing Edmonds is not something that is on the table or that is being considered by the organization.

Colby Rasmus: With all the trade talk swirling around Nashville, the Cardinals' top prospect, is the only player that Mozeliak indicated was the closest thing to an untouchable player within the organization.

Anthony Reyes: had another up and down, (mostly down) season with St. Louis, finishing with a 2-14 record and 6.04 ERA. Despite his struggles, the Cardinals still consider him as one of their starters in 2008. While the Cardinals are not shopping Reyes, at least a couple of teams have contacted the Cardinals conveying their interest in the young right-hander.

Erik Bedard: the Cardinals may be attempting to obtain starting pitcher, Erik Bedard from Baltimore. Bedard, whose season ended prematurely due to a strained oblique muscle, he still posted a 13-5 record with a 3.16 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, and finished fourth in the majors with 221 strikeouts in just 182 innings.

The Orioles have Bedard's arbitration rights through 2009.

Billy Southworth: The first day of the Winter Meetings started off on a good note with former St. Louis Cardinals manager Billy Southworth being elected to the Hall of Fame.




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