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The Cardinals’ top brass, comprised of the troika of Bill DeWitt Jr., John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch, came not to bury third baseman Matt Carpenter, but to praise him Tuesday. That was one of the telling parts of a half-hour media session at Busch Stadium.

Carpenter, who will be 34 at the end of the month, batted only .226 with a modest .726 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) this year. Toward the end of this season, he spent as much time on the bench as he did in the lineup.

Mozeliak, whose contract as president of baseball operations was extended into a four-year term Tuesday, admitted, “I’m probably a bit biased in this one.”

Then Mozeliak, who extended Carpenter for two years at some $39 million last spring, spoke of having coffee recently with Carpenter and that Mozeliak had come away with a good feeling

“Obviously, he wasn’t pleased with the year that he had. He had much higher expectations,” Mozeliak said. “He’s going to spend his offseason trying to do some things to change that trajectory. But, in terms of my confidence, or our confidence in him, it’s high.

“When you look at what happened a year ago (36 homers, .897 OPS in 2018) to what happened this past year (15 homers), we’re going to look at that as an outlier. Our expectations for him next season are for him to be a contributing member of that (batting) order. I know he wants to do everything he can do to be a part of that.”

Chairman DeWitt said, “‘Carp’ obviously will have a better season, we expect. He’s highly motivated.”

Whether Carpenter plays third base regularly depends, to some degree, “on how you envision Tommy Edman," Mozeliak said. "Tommy is one of those types of players who gives you lots of flexibility. He’ll have a lot of different gloves. He’ll find his way into the lineup.”

Carpenter, however, won’t have as many gloves as Edman. Mozeliak said he knew of no plan for Carpenter to spend any time in, say, left field, next spring.

Of course, something like that largely depends on whether left fielder Marcell Ozuna and the Cardinals reach a long-term agreement.

More rest for DeJong

One other position the versatile Edman will play next spring and probably next season is shortstop, at which he has played in the minors but has not appeared for the Cardinals.

Paul DeJong made 156 starts at shortstop, most by any position for a Cardinal. Mozeliak said the consensus among the front office and staff is that DeJong, who hit 30 homers but batted only .233, had worn down. DeJong hit just .175 in September.

“(DeJong) is one of those types of players that wants to be in the lineup, but that’s something we have to manage,” Mozeliak said. “Clearly, his workload was very demanding.”


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