JUPITER, Fla. -- A day after Adam Wainwright described the Cardinals as boasting a "playoff roster" for 2019, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak hinted at few forthcoming changes even with dozens of experienced free agents still seeking employment.
"I would say that we always keep an eye out, but I don't anticipate anything at this point," Mozeliak said when asked if the club could pounce with a surprise spring signing. "I think for us, we are pretty confident in what we have."
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Confidence in the pieces already in place is one component of the Cardinals' thinking. They also believe there was something to be gleaned from last year's missteps with Greg Holland. Holland missed all of Spring Training by waiting to sign on Opening Day and never got right while with the Cardinals. The club released him on Aug. 1 with a 7.92 ERA and 2.24 WHIP over 32 appearances.
"I do think we learned our lesson," Mozeliak said. "I think it does put a reason why Spring Training matters."
If giving up a roster spot is a concern, the Cardinals could add depth by picking off players who turn to Minor League deals to land a job. The tricky part there is those often come with opt-out deadlines that won't offer extensive time for evaluation.
While there is mutual interest between the Cardinals and starter Miles Mikolas to discuss a contract extension during Spring Training, similar conversations are unlikely to take place with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Part of what the Cardinals hope to sell to Goldschmidt, who is due to be a free agent next fall, is the prestige of playing in front of the fans in St. Louis. That obviously can't happen until April, so any discussions about an extension will wait until the regular season gets underway.
Both Goldschmidt and the Cardinals have noted their intent to keep any such conversations private.
Thrown for a curve
The idea was planted in a cramped Wrigley Field clubhouse before the Cardinals took the field for their final game of the regular season last September. Pitching coach Mike Maddux was making his rounds for exit interviews when he found a curious Mike Mayers.
Frustrated with the foul balls that led to extended at-bats or the cheap hits that complicated innings, Mayers felt he could benefit from a pitch that would contrast his fastball and slider. Maddux suggested a curveball.
Hours later, for the first time in his career, Mayers was throwing the pitch in a game. Facing Javier Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, Mayers mixed in nine curves among the 16 pitches he needed to finish a scoreless inning. Bryant rolled over on the last one for an inning-ending double play.
"That was a huge confidence boost going into the offseason," Mayers said on Thursday. "I knew it was something that was going to work."
Mayers will get plenty of reps with the curveball this spring, along with a sinker that has taken him from a two-pitch mix to a four-pitch one. The curveball obviously allows for a contrast in speeds from the upper-90s fastball Mayers found last year. The sinker offers a pitch with differing elevation.
"Really pleased with a couple things that are going to move Mike's needle," manager Mike Shildt said. "He comes in with a sense of clarity and a purpose in what he wants. And he clearly won his offseason."
Mayers will compete for a spot in the bullpen. His situation is complicated by the fact that he is out of Minor League options, though Mayers prefers to see that as an opportunity.
"It's time to perform," he said. "For the first time in my career, I control my own destiny if I pitch well. I know that there are still plenty of people that doubt what I can do. I look forward to proving those people wrong, too."
• The Cardinals paused their workouts to participate in a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m. in the one-year remembrance of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland, Fla.
• Dexter Fowler and Jedd Gyorko made their first appearance at the team's spring complex on Thursday, three days ahead of the team's official report date for position players.
• Shildt announced that the Cardinals have settled on a title for former Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter, who is among the guest instructors already at camp: Special Assistant to Everyone. Carpenter plans to spend two separate weeks with the club at Spring Training and then make monthly visits to St. Louis to assist during the regular season.