The St. Louis Cardinals have very few players who will be free agents at the end of the World Series this year. Several key players will be free agents following the 2013 season, including pitchers Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, outfielder Carlos Beltran, and shortstop Rafael Furcal.
But for this year, the number is much lower.Starting Pitchers
Kyle Lohse - Lohse will be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on this year's free agent market. He is coming off two seasons that saw him go 30-11 and make at least 30 starts each year. Considering he is 34, Lohse will likely want to get one last multi-year deal, a possibility enhanced by his ultra-aggressive agent, Scott Boras. The Cardinals have shown little interest in signing Lohse. He made $12 million in 2012, and for what he will command as a free agent, I do not think the Cardinals should sign Lohse. The Cards should be able to find a starter from the trio of young power pitchers Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, or Trevor Rosenthal.
Several member of the bullpen are eligible for arbitration, including Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, and Edward Mujica, but no free agents will be coming out of the pen this winter.Infielders
Lance Berkman - Lance Berkman is the only free agent among the infielders. Berkman was brought back following the 2011 season on a one-year, $12 million contract. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for either the team or Berkman, as knee injuries killed the Big Puma's season. Unless Berkman wants to come back as a switch-hitting bat off the bench for a drastically reduced salary, I do not see the team re-signing Berkman.Outfielders
Starting outfielders Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, and Carlos Beltran are all signed at least through 2013 (Beltran and Holliday) or still under team control (Jay).Catchers
Yadier Molina would have been a highly prized free agent in this offseason, but the Cardinals they came to a long-term deal with Molina in spring training. Backup Tony Cruz just finished his first full year in the major leagues.Utility Players
No utility players are free agents this year. Skip Schumaker is signed through the 2013 season, and Matt Carpenter and Shane Robinson are under team control.
Contract information found at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/?page_id=160.
A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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- Carlos Beltran
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