ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals had more time than usual this October to determine their offseason plans and create the blueprint from which general manager John Mozeliak will operate. Here is another look at some of the expected decisions ahead and how the free-agent market, which opened at 11 p.m. CT on Monday, could help the Cardinals address their needs:
Arbitration-eligible: RHP Trevor Rosenthal, 1B Matt Adams, RHP Seth Maness, RHP Carlos Martinez, LHP Kevin Siegrist, RHP Michael Wacha
Free agents: 1B/OF Brandon Moss, RHP Jerome Williams, OF Matt Holliday, RHP Jordan Walden
Biggest potential free-agent loss: Based on 2016 performance, the loss of Moss would be the most substantial. He connected for 28 home runs this season and, even after a historically awful September slump, finished the season with a respectable .784 OPS and a wRC+ of 105, which is above average. His defensive versatility would also be missed.
Potential free-agent targets: Mozeliak has prioritized adding a center fielder who profiles as an above-average defender at that position. Injecting athleticism into the offense, as well as finding another late-inning bullpen arm to replace Zach Duke, are also on the wish list. There is not a plethora of free-agent center fielders to choose from. Look for Dexter Fowler to draw the most interest of the bunch. The Cardinals may end up finding a better fit via the trade market.
And while the Cardinals are likely to seek a complementary bullpen piece, there are several available closers should they pivot and decide to augment the back of their bullpen in that way. Closers hitting the market include Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon, Wade Davis and Aroldis Chapman.
Wild card scenario: If the Cardinals turn to the trade market to add an outfielder, it may cost them some of their infield depth. Perhaps the club will look at trading Jedd Gyorko while his value is at its highest? Or maybe they'll want to flip Kolten Wong after another disappointing year? Adams and/or Jhonny Peralta could also be expendable. If the Cards deal from the infield, they'd likely then look to add to their infield depth via the free-agent market, preferably with a defensive-first middle infielder.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.