ST. LOUIS (BaseballSTL) -- The Cardinals enter this off season without many obvious needs. Most of their core players are signed for next season and will be back. The 2013 line-up will likely look very much like the 2012 line-up, with two possible exceptions: second base and shortstop.
John Mozeliak told me today that he doesn't think the Cardinals can afford to start the 2013 season with Pete Kozma as the only option at shortstop. Kozma played well for the Cardinals over the last month of the season, but he struggled offensively through out his minor league career. Mozeliak says it's too risky at this point to assume Kozma can handle shortstop on an everyday basis in the big leagues. The Cardinals expect to learn more about Rafael Furcal's health in early December. If Furcal checks out ok with his arm problems, he'd be the guy for 2013. But for now, shortstop is the Cardinals primary off season concern.
The Cardinals appear to be very serious about moving Matt Carpenter to second base. At 6'3", Carpenter would be a big second baseman. Mozeliak said today that Carpenter might be the most athletic of all the Cardinals infielders, and should be able to handle a move to second base, assuming he can learn to turn the double play. The Cardinals want to get Carpenter's bat in the line-up everyday.
Mozeliak also said today that he wants to find a lefthanded reliever to pair with Marc Rzepcynski. The Cardinals are well stocked with young, fireballing righthanded relievers, but they're thin from the left side. Look for Mozeliak to sign a veteran lefty specialist this off season.