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Cardinals likely to be even stronger in 2013

Oct 23, 2012, 12:13 AM EDT

Trevor Rosenthal Reuters

It won’t take the sting out of Monday’s Game 7 loss to the Giants, but the Cardinals have a great chance of being a better team in 2013 than they were this year.

The Cardinals’ only key free agents are Kyle Lohse and Lance Berkman. Berkman didn’t contribute this year anyway, and the Cardinals have a full rotation without Lohse:

Adam Wainwright
Chris Carpenter
Jaime Garcia
Lance Lynn
Jake Westbrook

Top prospect Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal are all available as fallbacks should Garcia’s shoulder remain a problem. Rosenthal presents a particularly intriguing option; if he remains in the pen, he’ll be a dominant weapon in the eighth. However, he has a whole lot of upside as a starter.

The Cardinals will also bring back their lineup intact, with Rafael Furcal expected back at shortstop after missing the end of this season with an elbow injury. Matt Carpenter could get a look at second as a potential upgrade from Daniel Descalso. And top prospect Oscar Taveras should be ready to step in if Carlos Beltran misses more time than he did this year.

So, the Cardinals may have a quiet winter, but that’s probably for the best. Even if teams like the Dodgers and Nationals make more noise, the Cardinals have as good of a shot as any NL team to reach the World Series next year.

  1. sailcat54 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    The Cards are a good team and this was a close NLCS! Good luck to them next year! In the meantime, however, GO GIANTS!

  2. senatorsguy - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Sorry Cards fans, but history isn’t written by the Losers (C.C.)

    • dwrek5 - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      The difference is STL is in the playoffs almost every year, so they realize this.

      Nats fans… not so much 😦

      • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:16 AM

        Exactly. Your team will win about 1 WS per 8 times in the playoffs (I still don’t count the play-in game as the playoffs, that just a mandatory game 163)….even if you are clearly the best team in the league, you still only have about a 1/6 chance of winning. They’ll be back, and it’ll be fun then too…win or lose.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      When you posted this on the other article…I responded accordingly. It bears repeating.
      Apology isn’t necessary. You (or I should say C.C.) are 100% on point.

  3. rmabe08 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    @senatorsguy You’re right, they are written by 11 World Series titles, most in the NL.

    • senatorsguy - Oct 23, 2012 at 7:11 AM

      fact: in the past, the Cards have won 11 WS titles. Fact: in 2012, they CHOKED. No go ahead and build your own 2012 narrative. anxious to hear Craig chime in.

      • shea801 - Oct 23, 2012 at 7:42 AM

        @senatorsguy Choke? Well, if there’s a team that knows the in’s and out’s of choking, it would be the Nationals.

        Fact is, yes the Cardinals blew it. As a Cards fan, Ive been here before (and I’m referring to ’96 and being up 3 games to 1). The taste is bitter, but the up side is awesome and I’m not sad the Redbirds lost. I don’t think the World Series would have gone their way anyhow, but I digress…

        Congrats, Giants! You’ve done very well and you earned the Penant! I hope you win the World Series, for the National League’s sake!

        //but part of me, hopes you lose in game 7 😉

      • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:18 AM

        Yep, they choked.

        Doesn’t change the fact that you are a bitter ass though…does it?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:35 AM

        Choke? They weren’t even supposed to be here. TLR gone. D.D. gone. A.P. gone. Berkman gone. Carp pitched a handful of games. Waino coming off Tommy John surgery (as a Nationals guy you should know a little something about that). Jon Jay…missed extensive time. Allen Craig…likewise. Dude…your jealousy is shining bright. Its understandable however.
        After all…success breeds jealousy.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:39 AM

        Choke? They needed the second wild card to get in. They should probably have never gotten to the NLCS. I mean it’s not like they won 98 games, had the best record in baseball, and got knocked out in the first round or anything.

        Yuck a Cub fan defending the Cardinals. I need a shower.

      • okwhitefalcon - Oct 23, 2012 at 5:23 PM

        Never use the term “narrative” – it’s played, so played.

    • gostlcards5 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      To ask the question again….

      Choke? Clearly the Cardinals blew it, but even with the defensive miscues in the last 3 games that made the margins larger, there is no guarantee that the Giants would not have beaten them anyway by 1-2 runs each game. Their pitching and defense in the last 3 games was great.

      Like I said earlier, well done, Giants! Good luck in the World Series!

  4. norcaldeportes - Oct 23, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    So Kozma won’t be on the team? He went full on Brooks Conrad in this series.

    • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      He shouldn’t be….he’s a bench guy, at best, that had a nice hot streak.

      • saints97 - Oct 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        You’re probably right, but he’s the best option they have at SS.

      • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        Not really, Ryan Jackson is probably better than he is right now….at least he can field…..and he can’t really be a worse hitter than Kozma (whose been horrible through multiple years in AAA, there is no reason to think that MLB pitchers won’t eat him up know that they’ve got some film on him). Jackson seems to be improving offensively as he moves through the minors (and he’s always been a SS even though the Cards used him at 2B earlier this year). With his defense, he could be an average SS soon.

      • saints97 - Oct 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        The difference between Jackson and Kozma (offensively) this year was almost completely BABIP.

        But I mostly agree with you. Both are better than Furcal.

      • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        As I understand things though, Jackson is considered a potentially elite fielder, whereas Kozma is rather serviceable….but I wouldn’t expect much offensive output from either guy….each should bat 8th in any MLB lineup

  5. danieljang818 - Oct 23, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Hi Matthew, are you a Cardinals beat writer? I purposely signed up to post a reply here because I don’t get why this article made headlines right after the game finished. It basically implies that the Cardinals have little to no flaws and makes it sound like the Cardinals won the World Series or something and will “be back stronger than ever.” I think this is just poor timing for the release of this article. This time should be spent congratulating the Giants for a job well done.

    • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      The other dozen posts congratulating the giants aren’t enough for you?

      Every time a team is eliminated there is some version of an “it is over for this year and this is what their future holds” post.

      I’ll still never understand people bitching about free content. I’m sure you can find many hundreds of articles and blog posts congratulating the Giants on their win.

  6. metalhead65 - Oct 23, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    this same team finished 11 games behind the reds don’t forget.their luck finally ran out on them but to say they will be contenders again because they bring everyone back is a stretch. the reds also bring everybody back including their manager unfortunately but they also will have a healthy Joey Votto for a full season. if not for the worst infield fly rule call ever we are not even talking about the cardinals. Go Giants!

    • shea801 - Oct 23, 2012 at 7:45 AM

      …and if not for Dusty Baker, we MAY be talking about the Reds.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      If your Aunt had balls she would be your Uncle.
      Try not to be so utterly bitter Metalhead. Good lord Man.
      Congratulations to the Giants on a well deserved series win.
      Go National League.

      See how that works Metalhead?

      • metalhead65 - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:52 AM

        right I am sure you and all cardinal nation would be rooting for my reds had they not choked and were going to the series. and I want the giants to win to but no way in hell you will ever see me pull for the cardinals.

      • saints97 - Oct 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM

        I can’t speak for all Cardinal fans, but I’d surely be pulling for the Reds against the Tigers. I am a big fan of Ryan Ludwick, and do root for Rolen, Votto, and Phillips (believe it or not).

        I am not hostile toward the Reds, other than rooting for Cueto to catch every venereal disease known to man, and a few that are unknown.

      • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        Yeah, I’d have been rooting for the Reds, too. No matter who represents the NL, that is who I pull for…even the Phillies.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      “no way in hell you will ever see me pull for the cardinals.”

      And this (among many other things) is something we differ on greatly.
      Not sure who you are hanging out with Metalhead. But all of my buddies are Redlegs or Cubs fans.
      And they always stay in division (as do I). That’s how it works. If you are truly a baseball fan.
      Of course…they aren’t Cubs or Reds fans walking around with perpetual chips on their shoulders either.

      I will break it down for you…IN ORDER.
      1) Team
      2) Division
      3) League


      • metalhead65 - Oct 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        it is not a chip on my shoulder, I root for 1 team and 1 team only and that is the Reds. if they can’t win why would I want anybody else in the division to? unless the cardinals win the division is considered weak and the cubs and pirates seem happy to just suck so I do not have any interest in them which leaves the brewers and cards. the brewers best player is a cheat so I will not root for them and the cardinals are the hated rival so I will never ever root for them. national lague yes except for them and you can thank your good buddy tony and his smug superior attitude for that.they did not have a problem with the reds untill they started winning and then all of sudden the reds were trying to hit batters on purpose and their pitchers were cheating or the mound was to high or the fireworks after a home run were to loud and distracting. so do not tell me how it goes. it goes reds and I do not give damn about anyone else.same way with all my football there are the Chicago Bears and that’s it. I root against everybody in their division especially the packers. collage basketball it is the IU hoosiers although I do root for the conference come tourney time and bowl season. well everybody but wisconsin anyway. you root your way and I will root my way does not make wrong or bitter just a passionate fan of my team.

    • gostlcards5 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      “if not for the worst infield fly rule call ever we are not even talking about the cardinals.”

      That is clearly opinion, not fact. It would have extended the inning, for sure, but that one call does not even guarantee that the Braves would have scored a single run.

      As far as rooting interest, I have slight disagreement with stl1. I (in almost every case) would stay in league, but I may not stay in division. I would have had difficulty rooting for the Reds, because of Cueto, Phillips, and Dusty (in that order), but they also would be superceded by my desire to see Rolen, Votto, and Ludwick do well. For the most part, I just want to see good baseball, and I may have particular rooting interests based on specific players that I like to watch.

      Either way, this will be entertaining, because most of the starting pitchers in the WS are very good. Go Giants!

  7. stex52 - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    …. And the schadenfreude express takes off. Nothing succeeds like success, and nothing brings out the gloaters like a stumble by a successful team.

    Choke????? How about the best pitching staff in the MLB beat them?

    • paperlions - Oct 23, 2012 at 8:27 AM

      The Giants pitchers had something to do with it….but there was a fair amount of choking mixed in…0 for a kagillion win RISP, horrible approaches at the plate by guys that are usually patient (Matt Carpenter was the only guy with a consistent solid approach when he had a chance), at least a 1/2 dozen flubs on defense on routine plays, pitchers that can’t find the strike zone unless it is with a hanging breaking ball. They looked like a team scared of losing the last 3 games instead of a team excited to be on the cusp of the WS.

      The difference in relaxation between the two teams can be summed up to two contrasting events: Cain hangs breaking ball to Craig, Craig swings through it. Lohse hangs breaking ball to Cain, Cain lines it up the middle to drive in a run. Giants pitchers had better ABs the last 3 games than any Cardinal hitter.

      • stex52 - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:39 AM

        I saw Craig miss that hanging curve. I thought at the time that was going to be one they would want back.

    • ajcardsfan - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      I can’t wait to see Vogelsong pitch again, he’s got a good backstory and he’s a good pitcher

      • saints97 - Oct 23, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        I can do without seeing those nostrils for a good while.

  8. don444 - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Cards are a very solid team and organization, obviously, but when you’ve just coughed up a 3-1 NLCS lead as the defending World Champs and gone home with such a whimper in your last few games “next year” ain’t what anyone is currently fixated on. Paper predictions are great, but they’re just that in the end. Opportunities to win championships are precious and need to be seized upon as showing up in MLB’s semifinals on a year-end year-out basis is just not something that organizations can count on given the difficulty that goes into such consistent success.

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