Cards can focus on short list of needs in Nashville

Cards can focus on short list of needs in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Cardinals' offseason wish list may be short, but the chance for some activity increases with the baseball world's ascension to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center for this week's Winter Meetings.

Though general manager John Mozeliak has already been busy talking with agents and other GMs as he searches for offseason upgrades, the only actual addition has been signing a potential backup catcher to a Minor League deal.

The lack of early activity is a reflection of the Cardinals' current positioning. A team that advanced to the National League Championship Series in October experienced only minimal losses to free agency, leaving the club few holes to fill. There are needs, though, which remain unchanged.

Atop the priority list is finding a left-handed pitcher to join Marc Rzepczynski in the bullpen. With the free-agent market thin in options, Mozeliak's best means of addressing this hole could be through a trade.

Improving the bench also remains a focus. The Cardinals would like to improve their depth at the middle-infield positions in order to have insurance should Rafael Furcal's recovery from an elbow injury hit a snag or in case the team needs another starting option at second base.

Finding a right-handed hitter -- ideally one with some power who can play the outfield -- would also strengthen a bench that became one of the team's weaknesses late in the 2012 season.

The fact that none of these holes will be filled by the top crop of free agents has allowed the Cardinals to proceed with caution and patience, hardly feeling the urgency to be among the clubs to make the early bold moves.

The Winter Meetings setting, though, often facilitates activity, so perhaps the Cardinals will begin knocking items off their to-do list soon. Any movement by the club will be covered in full on cardinals.com from Nashville. So, too, will other happenings, including manager Mike Matheny's meeting with the media on Tuesday afternoon and Thursday's Rule 5 Draft.

MLB.com's multimedia department also will be providing unique content all week for the Cardinals' site. Fans are encouraged to use the comments section at the bottom of each story to facilitate discussion and stay engaged during the club's stay in Nashville.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.