With the signing of Holliday today, the Cardinals appear to be set at 7 positions (Holliday in left, Rasmus in Center, Ludwick in Right. Brendan Ryan at SS, Schumaker at 2B, Pujols at 1B, and Molina catching.). Third base is the only question. I don't take this Miguel Tejada talk seriously. Brendan Ryan had a fine year last year at shortstop. He won't drive in as many runs or hit as many bombs as Tejada but he's far better defensively and, unlike Tejada, we know exactly how old Brendan is.
David Freese appears to be the favorite at the moment to win the third-base job, despite his DWI incident last month. The Cardinals signing of Holliday virtually rules out the club looking to free agency for a third baseman. Matthew Leach estimates that the Cardinals have 6-7 million left to spend this year, and I would imagine the bulk of that will be spent on pitching.
Now to the Holliday deal. 7 years, $120 million - could be worth as much as $136 million - also includes a full no-trade clause. I don't anticipate the no-trade clause will be a problem in the future, but it would certainly be nice if that wasn't in there. Holliday is, at best, an average defensive player. If his hitting ever falls off, the Cardinals are going to have a near-impossible time moving him and be on the hook for a lot of money. Having said this, he's only 29, and this doesn't seem likely. All in all, I think this was a very good deal for both sides.
For the rest of the offseason, it'd be nice to see the Cardinals add some pitching. Right now the Cardinals have 4.5 starting pitchers (Carpenter, Wainwright, Penny, Lohse, and Blake Hawksworth/ Mitchell Boggs) and a shaky bullpen. It would be nice to add another starter, which would allow the Cardinals to keep both Blake Hawksworth and Mitchell Boggs in the bullpen for another maturation year, but I would feel comfortable with Hawksworth being the 5th starter - provided we add some bullpen help. Jaime Garcia could also conceivably be our 5th starter...but he's coming off Tommy John surgery. Ryan Franklin had a nice season last year in the closer's role, but no one is sure its duplicatable.
I would grade the Cardinals offseason thus far a B-. Signing Holliday was nice, but we have no clear plan at third base and a depleted pitching staff. The offseason will be considered a success and only a success if we can add a couple more pitchers.
That's all for now guys. 44 days until pitchers and catchers report.