ST. LOUIS -- Describing the Cardinals' 2018 roster as "strong" and "improved," principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. suggested on Monday that the organization has wrapped up the bulk of its winter work."I don't really anticipate a major move between now and Spring Training," DeWitt said. "I think president of baseball
ST. LOUIS -- Describing the Cardinals' 2018 roster as "strong" and "improved," principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. suggested on Monday that the organization has wrapped up the bulk of its winter work.
"I don't really anticipate a major move between now and Spring Training," DeWitt said. "I think [president of baseball operations John Mozeliak] and [general manager Michael] Girsch did a good job of targeting certain players and getting things accomplished."
The comments, coupled with those Mozeliak made over the weekend during his Winter Warm-Up appearance, come after weeks of speculation that the Cardinals could still pounce in what has been a slow-to-develop free-agent market. Corner infielders Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas remain unsigned. So are numerous starting pitchers, including Jacob Arrieta and established closer Greg Holland.
DeWitt did not speak specifically about Holland, but did offer insight into how the Cardinals view the investment required to sign a free-agent closer.
"Closers are not guarantees," DeWitt said. "It's a hard job. You go over the history of closers, and it's not particularly guaranteed that you're going to get longevity.
"It's a value proposition. Is that player going to be an effective closer for us, and, if so, for how long? And what is your level of certainty there? And are you willing to give up resources -- whether it's players or dollars -- to make that bet. There is always risk. High risk in many cases."
Mark Melancon, who signed a four-year, $62 million contract to close for the Giants, is the most recent example of such volatility. Of course, there are examples to the contrary, too. In the first-year of his long-term deal, Kenley Jansen outperformed his $10 million salary. He finished fifth in the National League Cy Young Award vote.
DeWitt also reaffirmed the club's hesitancy to give away premium prospects in order to trade for a player who is one year away from free agency. That would be the case in a pursuit of Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado.
"Do you give up a big part of your future to have a one-year run?" DeWitt said. "That's never been a goal that I would have or our organization has had. We want to be competitive every year and have a shot to get into October."
If the Cardinals are indeed done with their offseason transactions, they will enter Spring Training having made three key additions. Marcell Ozuna fits as the impact bat the club desired. Miles Mikolas will fill the rotation vacancy. And Luke Gregerson will get the first crack as closer.