Cards end Winter Meetings on a high note

Team seals multiple deals, advances many others during whirlwind week in Florida

December 14th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After weeks spent pursuing , the Cardinals gathered at the Winter Meetings knowing they had to move on but still evaluate which new paths to take.
In the span of four days, they seem to have found their way.
President of baseball operations John Mozeliak and his front-office team departed Thursday with multiple deals done and others still possibly in the works. In fact, depending how the next few days transpire, the club may wrap up the majority of its offseason overhaul before the calendar turns to 2018.

Having delayed his flight back to St. Louis on Thursday, Mozeliak completed a pair of trades before heading home. The most impactful was the acquisition of Marlins All-Star outfielder , the impact bat the club sought for the middle of its order. In exchange for two years of control over Ozuna, the Cardinals are parting with Minor Leaguers , , Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano.

In a related move, the Cardinals also made a swap with the A's. As a way to address the congested outfield, the Cardinals sent to Oakland for Minor League infielders and . Both will provide defensive versatility at the upper levels of the Cardinals' farm system. Munoz also takes a spot on the 40-man roster.
These deals followed a pair of free-agent signings that were also made official this week. Starter and reliever Luke Gregerson each signed two-year contracts to help augment the club's pitching depth.
What's next?
The Cardinals' winter work isn't over. The top priority now is adding a closer, and the Cardinals accelerated talks related to that search this week. The Rays' Alex Colome remains a trade target. The club has also considered free agent .

It's also possible the team makes additional upgrades to its offense and/or rotation. Talks with Tampa Bay, for instance, could expand to include third baseman or starting pitcher Chris Archer. And in what would represent an even bolder move, the Cardinals have, according to multiple reports, made an offer to Baltimore for infielder Manny Machado.
Machado has one year remaining before he becomes a free agent.
"Now that we sit here on December 14, we're certainly excited about the club we have, but there are other things that we might do," Mozeliak said. "I think we'll take next week and see where that may lead us. I definitely feel like January [gives us] plenty of opportunity to do other things. I don't leave here feeling like my job is over. I suspect there are going to be some things we explore."

Rule 5 Draft
The Cardinals did not take or lose anyone in the Major League portion of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. They did pluck a pair of young outfielders -- 17-year-old Jean Selmo (Arizona) and 21-year-old Angel Moreno (Tampa Bay) -- in the Minor League portion.
"We wanted to go younger and try to take advantage of guys who may have a little more upside," said John Vuch, director of baseball administration for the Cardinals. "We've got enough Minor League depth that we'd rather go higher risk, higher reward. … Maybe get somebody who has some upside."
Jacob Wilson, an infielder in the Cardinals' system since 2012, was selected by the Nationals in the Minor League phase.
The bottom line
"When you look at the last two years, you can certainly point to areas that didn't go as planned. As we enter now into how we start thinking about '18, there's just a lot to be excited about how this club looks today. And again, we may get more excited about it in time."