ST. LOUIS -- Calling the organization's offseason activity "short" and "quick," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak spoke on Tuesday as someone who appears to have wrapped up his work constructing a 2014 team that seems poised to compete for the World Series championship it fell just short of this past season.
A day after the Cardinals announced the signing of Mark Ellis to a one-year contract, Mozeliak held a news conference at Busch Stadium in which he offered an overview of the organization's winter work. After striking a deal with the Angels to acquire center fielder Peter Bourjos, Mozeliak filled holes by signing free agents Jhonny Peralta and Ellis. The latter transaction met the Cardinals' final offseason need.
"When you look back sort of at our end-of-the-year meeting when we were first sitting down, obviously we made it pretty clear that we felt we needed to improve at short, try to get an upgrade in center from a defensive standpoint, and also, if we could, add depth to that bench that could have a practical use," Mozeliak said. "We were able to do that.
"As we look back over the last six weeks, we feel like we were able to improve this club. A lot of times that's not easy to do when you've had the type of year that we've had. But we feel pretty good about moving forward."
Indeed, the Cardinals appear to have addressed their biggest areas of deficiency. They've upgraded defensively in center and at a pair of infield positions. Shortstop has become a position of offensive strength. The bench touts more experienced depth.
And in adding three right-handed bats, the Cardinals believe they are better protected against left-handed pitching. That should make their offense more balanced.
As for what remains ahead, the answer is probably not much.
"I think a lot of people are sort of wondering how the next four to six weeks look like. And I think that's a fair question," Mozeliak said. "One of the things we have prided ourselves in is just being opportunistic. If something comes up that should make sense, we'll pursue it. I think the free-agent market is just sort of starting to slow down or lack a lot of players at this moment. Therefore, it could change how the trade market looks in the month of January."
Mozeliak later added that the organization will continue to seek upgrades to their Minor League depth in the time leading up to Spring Training. The club also has arbitration cases left to settle with Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay and Bourjos.
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.Less