Great, the Cardinals will meet with Scott Boras. I'm all for signing Matt Holliday to a REASONABLE contract. And if Holliday gives any indication that he's not trying to break the bank then I think the Cardinals should be all in. But, Boras is not a guy that encourages cheap labor. The minute Holliday says he's going to explore the market, the Cardinals need to move to Plan B. For me, that would be signing Mark DeRosa and John Smoltz(to an incentive-laden deal) and spending money on a pitcher that fits the number four profile. Smoltz is a no risk gamble who could help as a starter or perhaps in relief.
The Cardinals don't HAVE to have a 15 million dollar left fielder to win next season. If you can find a more affordable alternative--great. If not, I'd give DeRosa the job. He's a complete player and excellent athlete who, with a surgically repaired wrist, can hit 20 plus homers and drive in 75 to 80 runs.
I'd plug David Freese in at third base and bolster my starting pitching and bullpen depth. Ryan Ludwick is capable of protecting Pujols and there is enough offense to win. Consider this possible lineup:Schumaker, DeRosa, Pujols, Ludwick, Rasmus, Freese, Molina, and Ryan. You could move Freese up to five or move Rasmus to second and drop DeRosa but I like the lefty breaking up the right handed bats in the middle of the lineup. Numbers two through six are all capable of 20 plus homers and Pujols and Ludwick should be 30 plus homer guys.
I'd move Ryan Franklin back to the 8th inning set up role he occupied in 2008 and look for a closer or groom one(maybe Motte) who has an explosive "out pitch" like the filthy curve ball Adam Wainwright used in 2006 or a moving fastball that so many top relievers have. The closer has to have a sure-fire "go to" pitch that can bail him out of jams(like the one in Game 2 of the NLCS).
Bottom line--the Cardinals don't have to roll over and wave the white flag if Holliday moves on. There's more than enough pitching and offense to compete in the always pedestrian Central Division.