Kevin C. Cox
The St. Louis Cardinals missed out on two of the remaining middle infield options on Monday. Are they really satisfied with their middle infield, as Hot Stove rumors dry up?
Stephen Drew and Hiroyuki Nakajima went off the free agent market on Monday, leaving the 2013 pickings for shortstops and second basemen looking extremely slim. Which means we finally have to confront the darkest question of this Hot Stove League cycle: Are the St. Louis Cardinals really satisfied with an infield composed of Daniel Descalso, Rafael Furcal, and Pete Kozma? Really-really?
It looks like they might be. Among internet-favorite options Kelly Johnson is still available to play second base; he's coming off a bad season with the bat, but his bad season with the bat made him Daniel Descalso, basically. But at shortstop, the Cardinals have all but committed themselves to putting Pete Kozma, one of the very worst hitters in the AAA Pacific Coast League last year, directly behind Rafael Furcal.
John Mozeliak is a smart guy, and the Cardinals are an excellent and well-run team--I'm not saying I know better than they do--but their handling of the middle infield has been completely mysterious to me. Unless they're still looking to make a trade, what appeared to be a bluff--Kozma's fine! Furcal's progressing nicely!--looks to be their actual gameplan.