ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals brought back infielder Aaron Miles on Friday, acknowledging that though they have many infield candidates on their roster, few are sure things.
Miles, 31, signed a one-year pact for a reported $1.4 million. He had been non-tendered by the Cardinals on Dec. 12, making him a free agent, but re-signed on Friday. St. Louis let Miles walk in order to avoid going to arbitration, and the club likely signed Miles for less than he would have made via the arbitration process.
Miles batted .290 for the Cardinals in 2007, his highest since 2004, but virtually all of his other performance indicators remained static. He put up a .328 on-base percentage, right in line with his .323 career number, and his .348 slugging percentage was a bit below his career mark of .357.
The Cards' putative starters in the middle infield are Cesar Izturis at shortstop and Adam Kennedy at second base. Izturis, once considered an elite defender, may not play at that level anymore and surely is not the caliber of hitter that he was in his career year of 2004. Kennedy, a steady performer for most of his career, struggled badly in 2007 and it is an open question what he can provide in '08.
Backing them up was Brendan Ryan, who impressed in his Major League debut, but whom the club is reluctant to lean on without having an alternative in case the youngster drops off. Other potential middle infielders on the roster include Scott Spiezio and rookie hopefuls Brian Barden and Jarrett Hoffpauir.
Miles' versatility endeared him to manager Tony La Russa -- he played five positions, including pitcher, in 2007.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.