ST. LOUIS -- With a robust commitment to Mike Leake, the Cardinals solidified their rotation on Tuesday and perhaps softened the spotlight that has been so transfixed on what they hadn't been able to accomplish this offseason.
The Cardinals moved quickly after the unsuccessful pursuits of free agents David Price and Jason Heyward to reassess how they could fortify a roster already returning most of the key components from a 100-win team. The top priority became filling a rotation hole, which has been solved by signing Leake to a five-year, $80 million deal. So, what might be next?
• Hot Stove Tracker
General manager John Mozeliak characterized the Cardinals as still positioned to be opportunistic in the free-agent market in case the right opportunity arises. That said, he has also stressed that there is not a necessity to act.
On the offensive end, the Cardinals are committed to giving Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Brandon Moss and Matt Adams the chance to cover a pair of outfield spots and first base. Shortly after Heyward's departure, Mozeliak said that the club's next move was "not likely going to be chasing one of those outfielders" on the free-agent market. To date, the organization's position on that has not changed.
Mozeliak said on Tuesday that he remains "open minded" to adding bullpen help, though nothing was imminent on that front. The Cardinals also reinforced their relief corps with the addition of Leake, as that will allow Tyler Lyons, Tim Cooney and Marco Gonzales to potentially slide into bullpen roles. Mozeliak said that as many as two of those three lefties could fit in the team's Opening Day bullpen.
"I feel like you're trying to put out there the best club possible," Mozeliak said. "You're looking at what your options are. Ultimately, we're very confident with our current roster. That's not to say that in two or three weeks, we don't switch and go down a different path. But we've always tried to put this organization in position to be opportunistic, so that if things open up, we're prepared."
The Cardinals, even though they don't appear to be focused on the top tier of the free-agent pool anymore, do have the financial flexibility to get involved again if they choose to pivot from their position.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.