Coming off of a tough end to the season in which they fell in seven games to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, the St. Louis Cardinals look to continue to build on the success they had last season under first year manager Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals finished second in the National League Central division last season with a record of 88-74 and secured a wild card spot in the playoffs.
The Cardinals possess some of the best outfielders in the game in Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran. They also have arguably one of the best catchers behind the plate in Yadier Molina. The pitching staff is highlighted by 18-game winner Lance Lynn and 14-game winner Adam Wainwright. Jason Motte proved to be one of the best closers in the game last year securing 42 saves.
While the team didn’t add any big names in free agency this offseason, they added some depth to their bench with the signings of shortstop Ronny Cedeno and third baseman Ty Wigginton. They also added to the strength of their bullpen by the signing of pitcher Randy Choate.
The one issue the team will have to overcome is the absence of pitcher Chris Carpenter. Carpenter is expected to miss the entire 2013 season because of injury to his shoulder. According to mlb.com Cardinals reporter Jenifer Langosch, younger pitchers Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal will now get a shot at filling the void.
The Cardinals will head to spring training in Jupiter, Fla, looking to be competitive again in the NL Central as long as they stay healthy, their top players continue to produce at a top level and young prospects continue to develop.