DeWitt set for less stressful Winter Meetings
Cards owner expects to stay out of spotlight a year after Pujols negotiations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In stark contrast to last year, when he admittedly spent minimal time outside of the organization's Winter Meetings suite at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. welcomed the opportunity to be seen and chat up media members on Monday, the first official day of the 2012 Winter Meetings.
The spotlight that the Cardinals consumed in 2011, as they negotiated with free agent Albert Pujols, has shifted to other clubs and different players. St. Louis is still hard at work this week, as there are holes to fill and needs to address. But the feeling is much different one year after learning that they'd be losing a superstar and St. Louis icon.
"I couldn't walk through the lobby last year without getting barraged," DeWitt said, shortly after Major League officials announced the results of the pre-integration era committee Hall of Fame ballot results, of which DeWitt was a member of the voting panel. "This year, they'll kind of look the other way. That was a stressful Winter Meetings in Dallas last year."
This year, DeWitt will leave the legwork on negotiations and discussions to general manager John Mozeliak and his staff, though he will stay abreast on any developments. Though not a surprise, DeWitt noted that the club is "not in on any of those top free agents" available this winter. That list includes Zack Greinke, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton and former Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse, among others.
"It could be quiet for us in terms of things done," DeWitt said. "It seems like the big free agents will get the splash if there's a signing, but who knows if that will happen down here."
The Cardinals' needs, while minimal, remain unchanged. The club eyes upgrades to its middle-infield depth and desires to add a left-hander to the bullpen.
Of the players available to fill those holes, DeWitt said: "There are some interesting options out there, but it remains to be seen how it all plays out."
DeWitt added that the healthy mix of young talent and experience on the Cardinals' roster sets the club up well for continued runs to and through the postseason. That crop of young pitching, too, has been attractive to other teams, many of whom have already contacted Mozeliak to see which players might be available in a trade.
"We have gotten a lot of requests about the young talent, but you can never have too much pitching" DeWitt said. "We're in a good position having the depth that we have and we'd like to hang onto it."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.