Two days before Christmas is definitely a little late for sending you a letter, I know, but there’s a good reason for that (beyond being behind on getting ready for the holiday this year): as a Cardinals fan, there’s really nothing I need.
Yes, I know that sounds terribly spoiled of me and could just add fuel to all that October commotion the sports media and fans of other teams had such a great time with in bashing Cards fans. (Some of that was justified — there really are stupid Cardinals fans out there, as there are of every single team in every sport.)
But what I really want to say, Santa, is thanks. Because you’ve already helped John Mozeliak take care of the few needs the Cardinals did have once the final game of the 2013 season ended — and all before the calendar year of 2013 concludes.
Sure, the needs were not great for a team that made it to Game Six of the World Series (which is something those really obnoxious and whiny Cardinals fans need a reminder of: this team made it to the World Series in 2013 for the second time in three seasons. The Cardinals don’t have the needs of the Cubs, obviously. Or the Brewers. Or …) Anyway, we knew what the most glaring need was too: a shortstop.
Of course, a Christmas miracle of Pete Kozma actually being able to hit would have sufficed. Yet it’s obvious now you gave Petey that miracle a while ago, with his performances in September 2012 and against the Nationals that October. Which is fine — magical times, for sure, and I for one definitely enjoyed watching his success. Those kind of surprises from unexpected sources are always so amazing. Nice work! Of course, when the magic is done and things are back to ordinary again, it’s all the more painful … and watching him struggle in 2013 definitely was. Anyway, Santa, you’ve addressed that issue in giving Mo the chance to sign Jhonny Peralta for 2014 and moving ahead. Which is good.
Personally I like the move and think Peralta will be a good addition, and was not up in arms over the fact that the Cardinals dared to sign someone who had served a suspension for PEDs. The rules are there, he broke the rules, he served his time, his contriteness seemed real. Of course, the Cardinals Haters out there had yet another field day with the signing — but Mo had the perfect response to them: “I don’t think it’s the Cardinals responsibility necessarily to be the morality police on potentially future employment.” Amen.
Santa, I’m sure you’ve received much grief from a certain segment of female Cardinals fans for allowing Mo to trade David Freese. I understand. Back in my teenage Cub fans days, I would have been beyond devastated had they traded Jody Davis — a much less monumental home run he hit was what made me a fan. But sometimes a fresh start is needed, which David now gets despite not all fans being able to see the big picture of how this is beneficial. Plus, in return, the Cardinals get Peter Bourjos and his better glove in centerfield. And once some of that certain segment of fans really gets a nice look at Bourjos, my guess is they’ll be just fine (before renaming their Twitter accounts from @MrsFreese to @MrsBourjos). I’m looking forward to seeing Bourjos patrolling center and making some terrific catches … plus seeing Matt Carpenter regularly at third and Kolten Wong at second. So, in the long run, this will be a win-win too — which is what you do. You’re Santa!
Speaking of second base, it’s good that you gave Mo the gift of Mark Ellis as a back-up there too. I’ve always liked him, going back 10-plus years now to his days with the A’s and when I somehow — pre-blog and social media — managed to follow those A’s teams daily in addition to obsessively keeping up with the Cards. Good defensively, steady bat. And it’s always good to read things like this from those who choose to come to St. Louis: “It is just a winning organization, the way the organization goes about its business … You can’t determine where you’re going to go based on if you’re going to win the World Series, but you can go there based on who you think has the best chance to win the World Series.”
So Santa, baseball-wise, I’m really pleased right now. Sure, I wish the countdown to Opening Day and even to spring training was a little closer, but I understand: to everything there is a season. And the off-season for us as Cardinals fans now is just one of patience since we know Mo has already said this:
“As we look back over the last six weeks, we feel like we were able to improve this club. A lot of times that’s not easy to do when you’ve had the type of year that we’ve had. But we feel pretty good about moving forward.”
Indeed, the Cardinals appear to have addressed their biggest areas of deficiency. They’ve upgraded defensively in center and at a pair of infield positions. Shortstop has become a position of offensive strength. The bench touts more experienced depth.
And in adding three right-handed bats, the Cardinals believe they are better protected against left-handed pitching. That should make their offense more balanced.
As for what remains ahead, the answer is probably not much.
“I think a lot of people are sort of wondering how the next four to six weeks look like. And I think that’s a fair question,” Mozeliak said. “One of the things we have prided ourselves in is just being opportunistic. If something comes up that should make sense, we’ll pursue it.”
Santa, if you decide that some new opportunity still needs to be there to help the 2014 Cardinals, I do trust that Mo will make the right decision. Because that’s what he does — and what I’m so grateful for as a Cardinals fan.
In the meantime, we all just have to wait for baseball again. Patience is always such a tough thing to learn, although tomorrow is already Christmas Eve so the days are definitely passing by. With that, Santa, I’ll just once again say thank you: for John Mozeliak, for the St. Louis Cardinals and for making me a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Safe travels tomorrow night!
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like us on Facebook if you don’t already.