Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak watches workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Langosch: 4 Biggest Questions Left to be Answered Before Cards Arrive in Jupiter

The most interesting might be, what will a Mike Shildt-run spring training look like?

January 08, 2019 - 5:30 pm
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Pitchers and catchers officially report for spring training in Jupiter, Fla on Tuesday, February 12 – but the St. Louis Cardinals front office still has some work to before then says MLB.com beat writer Jenifer Langosch. 

Related: Tom Ackerman's Food & Drink Guide to St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training

Langosch was a guest with host Mike Kelly in the most recent Sports on a Sunday Morning. You can listen to their full conversation, here:

St. Louis obviously checked off two boxes on its list this winter: Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller. But there are a few other things Langosch pointed out, left to do: 

Does Jose Martinez stay in STL?

It's a pretty simple question, does he have a spot on in Mike Shildts day-to-day lineup or 25-man roster? He was your most consistent hitter in 2018, but possibly your worst defender. 

"Do you trade him and perhaps address another area of deficiency by leveraging the value he would bring to another team," Langosch says. *Hint: An American League team looking for an upgrade at DH.

Who's the closer?

Andrew Miller, Jordan Hicks, Dakota Hudson, Carlos Martinez, Ryan Helsley... The list can go on for a while of guys on the Cards roster with closing experience or those who may be a good fit in the ninth inning. But there's no definitive answer. 

And with options still out in the free agent market, it's likely a new name will be thrown into the mix come February. 

Should we worry about health?

It's a question that we'll learn a lot more about when the players show up to the complex at Roger Dean Stadium next month. But the names, and their limbs, to watch will be: 

Marcell Ozuna - Minor surgery in right arm

Dexter Fowler - Physically, we're looking at his left foot. But mentally might be the bigger question mark. 

Related: Mozeliak on The Most Interesting Position for the Cardinals: RF

Alex Reyes - After all the hype of his return from Tommy John to begin the 2018 season, we'll have to wait and see how he fairs the second time around.

"All of these answers are going to play into the Cardinals roster managment," Langosch says. "While maybe they've checked off most of the items on their to-do list, there are still some issues out there hanging over this team. And I think we are going to get the answers to some of those in the next couple weeks. 

What does a Mike Shildt spring training look like? 

Shildt is no longers the second-in-command to Mike Matheny, nor is he coordinating a minor league spring training under Tony La Russa's regime. Now it's his show. 

"One of the things he said he's going to make a priority is efficiency," Langosch says. "It's not how long you spend out there or how many drills are on the sheet you have to get through, but it's making sure that the work you do is the most productive."

The biggest change of from last year's camp was pushing workouts back by an hour to let guys focus on getting more rest. Langosch expects that to stay, however a lot of players will still be showing up well before the rest of the players and coaches, between 6-6:30 a.m. 

He's got a new group of coaches around him as well, without Jose Oquendo in a Major League role, new hitting coach Jeff Albert and Stubby Clapp gets the promotion to big league first base coach. 

"There's going to be a focus on efficiency and there's going to be a focus on, as there always is and should be, fundamentals, defense, base running and some of the issues we've seen crop up with this organization in recent years," Langosch says.

And we can't talk about it enough, but the 61st annual St. Louis Baseball Writers' Dinner is coming up on January 20th, with special guests like Bob Costas, Lee Smith and Vira Clemente, the widow of Hall of Famer Roberto Clement.