Cardinals Major League Notebook: 11/13/09

The Matt Holliday contract situation is front and center as the St. Louis Cardinals off-season continues.


   The Cardinals, according to general manager John Mozeliak, don't intend to get into a protracted bidding war to re-sign free agent left fielder Matt Holliday.

   Mozeliak has indicated the club very much wants to retain Holliday, but he said, "I think it's fair to say when we present an offer, that's pretty much going to be our position," Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

   "We're not really interested in becoming involved in a long, drawn-out back-and-forth."

   Scott Boras, Holliday's agent, said he believed the Cardinals fully were able to compete with the so-called large-market clubs to retain Holliday, dismissing the notion that the Cardinals were a "mid-market" club.

   But Mozeliak, who met with Boras at the general managers meetings in Chicago, said, "I tend to go more on what is said during our meeting than what I read or hear through the media."

   That having been said, Mozeliak is hoping for a quicker resolution of the Holliday issue than the signing of Boras client Mark Teixeira last offseason. The first baseman didn't sign with the Yankees until January.

   "I would think we'd have to know where we stand reasonably soon," Mozeliak said. "It's not something from our standpoint that we can get strung out."



   --RHP Adam Wainwright, a first-time Gold Glove winner, said, "I'm really astonished. I would have thought that if there was one award I would never win, or never have a chance to win, it would be to win a Gold Glove." Wainwright didn't make an error in 56 fielding chances last season.

   --C Yadier Molina won his second consecutive Gold Glove.

   --The Cardinals did not appear to be one of the teams interested in free agent 3B Chone Figgins. The club hopes to give St. Louisan David Freese the first crack at the third base job in spring training. Figgins would represent a base-stealing threat at the top of the lineup, but linchpin Albert Pujols generally doesn't seem to like players trying to steal when he's at bat. And if those thefts are successful, Pujols then often is walked intentionally.

   --With Freese to get the first shot at third, the Cardinals' interest in retaining Mark DeRosa may lie in consideration of him as a utility player or even the starting left fielder if Holliday isn't retained. DeRosa is coming off surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath near his left wrist.

   --OF Tyler Henley was hitting .304 with two homers for the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League after 46 at-bats. Henley, an eighth-round selection in 2007 from Rice, batted .303 with 13 homers at Class AA Springfield last season.

   --The Cardinals still haven't determined when to make new hitting coach Mark McGwire available to the media for the first time since his hiring in late October.

   BY THE NUMBERS: 25 -- Years since a Cardinals pitcher (Joaquin Andujar, 1984) had won a Gold Glove before RHP Adam Wainwright bagged one this year.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was easy to look at him and say he was going to be able to do this." -- Manager Tony La Russa, referring to the success of Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Girardi was a Cardinal in 2003, his final season as a big-league player.



   The Cardinals didn't have many needs as the season ended although they probably could use one more veteran starting pitcher to go with RHPs Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse. RHPs Joel Pineiro and Todd Wellemeyer, who filled out the rotation, both likely will be gone as free agents.

   BIGGEST NEEDS: When the Cardinals were dismissed early from the playoffs, they set the wheels in motion to try to re-sign free-agent LF Matt Holliday and also 3B Mark DeRosa. Holliday, however, seemed likely to go into the open market.

   FREE AGENTS: RHP Joel Pineiro, RHP Todd Wellemeyer, RHP John Smoltz, C Jason LaRue, INF Khalil Greene, INF Mark DeRosa, 3B Troy Glaus, OF Rick Ankiel, LF Matt Holliday, RHP Brad Thompson (released).

   The Cardinals have large interest in keeping Holliday and DeRosa and some interest in both LaRue and Smoltz. The others probably are gone.

   ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: OF Ryan Ludwick, 2B Skip Schumaker.

   Schumaker will make more as a second baseman than an outfielder. Ludwick likely will get close to $7 million and might have to be traded for payroll relief if Holliday signs a multiyear deal.

   IN LIMBO: OF Ryan Ludwick, a candidate to be traded last year, could be dealt this time. RHP Josh Kinney, a playoff hero in 2006, probably won't return.



   3B Mark DeRosa (left wrist surgery in October 2009) should be ready for spring training.

   1B Albert Pujols (arthroscopic right elbow surgery in October 2009) should be back at full strength for spring training.

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