Cards weighing internal options for righty hitter at first

Cards weighing internal options for righty hitter at first

SAN DIEGO -- While acknowledging that Tuesday's Winter Meetings work gave him a better feel for which right-handed-hitting first baseman may be a fit for the Cardinals' roster hole, general manager John Mozeliak also shed light on some internal candidates that could potentially address the need.

Among them is Stephen Piscotty, drafted in 2012 as a third baseman but now a converted right fielder. Piscotty, ranked by MLB.com as the Cards' top prospect, played first base a bit at Stanford University; however, he hasn't returned to the position since turning pro. With the Cardinals looking for a right-handed hitter to complement Matt Adams at the position, Piscotty stands out as an intriguing option following a strong season at Triple-A.

"We've discussed that internally, but we haven't made any decisions on necessarily getting reps there," Mozeliak said. "I do think [manager Mike] Matheny would be an advocate for that."

The Cardinals do not have similar interest in exploring Matt Holliday as a possible first baseman. Yadier Molina is capable of playing the position, but the Cardinals know his value remains behind the plate, and he likely wouldn't be available for but a handful of starts at first.

Xavier Scruggs, a natural first baseman, remains the other obvious internal option.

Even amid dialogue about in-house candidates, the Cardinals continue to focus their free-agent search on bringing someone else in from the outside. Mozeliak met with multiple agents representing right-handed hitters on Tuesday as he continues that pursuit.

The club is not near an agreement with any of them, nor did the Cardinals sound like a team expecting to act during their two remaining days in San Diego.

"I think everybody is sort of in that exploratory mode right now," Mozeliak said. "Everybody is trying to feel everybody out with what's going on. So subsequently, time will tell how some of these things shake out."

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.