-The Cardinals are already working on next year's roster. Actually, they're a little behind most other teams in that process considering they've had to concentrate on the post-season until now. Walt Jockety and the boys have an interesting few months ahead of them trying to finalize things. Let's see if we can help...
All of the following should be done...assuming you can work out the money end of it...
-Re-sign free-agent pitchers Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver. Mark Mulder could be signed to a heavily incentive-laden deal but not counted on to be a member of the rotation....too risky. Sign Barry Zito the Oakland A's lefty...also a free agent. (It's fun spending other people's money...so why not?) That would give you a starting rotation of:
(Mulder can jump in if someone fails...or gets hurt)
That's right...leave Adam Wainwright in the closer's role that he so admirably performed in this post-season.
Move Jason Isringhausen (assuming he recovers well from hip surgery) to a set-up role. He pitches only the 8th inning.
Trade Braden Looper, Juan Encarnacion and maybe a few other spare parts to acquire a solid right-fielder with power. There's been some buzz about signing Luis Gonzalez (old but not finished) as a free agent. I would not be opposed to that.
Teach Chris Duncan how to play left.
Tyler Johnson, Josh Kinney, Josh Hancock and Randy Flores can fight for 7th inning duty.
Brad Thompson, Jorge Sosa, and lefty Chris Narveson would be long relievers.
Let free-agent Ronnie Belliard take whatever money he made as a World Champion second-baseman and go elsewhere. I like him...but not enough to overpay. Aaron Miles can handle second just fine.
I think a deal can be worked out with Jim Edmonds. I would sign him to a new 2 or 3-year deal that would pay him less than the 10-million option the club has for next year...but more than he's likely to command elsewhere at his age. Truth is...you rarely see the combination of speed and power that Edmonds provides in a center-fielder. He and Andruw Jones of Atlanta are about as good as it gets in the NL.
Preston Wilson was a nice fit for this year...but strikes out too much. As a free agent, he'll likely get a better deal elsewhere...and the Cardinals should let that happen.
Keep Molina/Bennett as your catcher team.
Jose Vizcaino might be a good guy to keep around as a back-up infielder. And, of course, you have to keep So Taguchi around in the outfield mix, and Scott Spiezio around in the overall mix.
Of course, it's likely there will be several guys I'm not thinking of step up during spring training to try to make the roster. Remember Rick Ankiel? He's still hanging around in the minors. A handful of young pitchers are supposedly ready to be considered for big-league jobs soon too.
So, what am I forgetting? Oh yeah, keep Scott Rolen at third, David Eckstein at short and Albert Pujols at first. Goes without saying right?