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News » St. Louis Cardinals Inside Pitch 2008-12-15

St. Louis Cardinals Inside Pitch 2008-12-15

St. Louis Cardinals Inside Pitch 2008-12-15
The Cardinals, with almost no left-handed presence on their roster and no ordained closer, changed their December focus toward free agent lefty reliever Brian Fuentes, whom they figured could fill both breaches.

Manager Tony La Russa, addressing reporters at baseball's winter meetings in Las Vegas, said, "From Day One, he's been the guy that fit us the best.

"We have a strong right-handed core, whether it's a veteran like Ryan (Franklin) covering (Josh) Kinney or the two kids (Chris Perez and Jason Motte). A quality left-handed reliever like Brian ... he's the guy who was our first choice."

The Cardinals were more encouraged about their chances of signing Fuentes when the market for closers became framed with Francisco Rodriguez going to the New York Mets for three years at $37 million and Kerry Wood going to Cleveland for two years at a reported $20 million.

"I definitely think it helped define the market," general manager John Mozeliak said of those two signings. "I think there were a lot of things swirling prior to all of us arriving (in Las Vegas).

"I look back at the general mangers meetings, and at that time it seemed like it was going to be in a different universe."

The Cardinals are believed to have focused on a two-year offer to Fuentes initially but would consider going to three years. Fuentes had 30 saves in 34 tries for Colorado last season. He was displaced as closer by Manny Corpas the year before when the Rockies won the National League title.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 15, 2008

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