New 3B on deck for Cardinals

More early news about a 2010 lineup, this time from MLB Trade Rumors:

    According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Freese should get first crack at the Cardinals' third base job next season.Freese was impressive in his 225 plate appearances with Triple-A Memphis, posting an .894 OPS, and hit well in a very small major-league sample as well (.837 OPS in 34 plate appearances).

    Should Freese excel, it would be a welcome change from 2009 for the Cardinals, when eight different players held down the hot corner.

    "I think we would like to give him a shot to play every day," St. Louis GM John Mozeliak said. "If we need to ramp up the offense in another way, we have plenty of time. But given what he accomplished this year, I definitely think (Freese) deserves that chance."

Here's a question for the Cardinals: Why didn't Freese get first -- or second or third or fourth -- crack at the Cardinals' third-base job this season?

Freese's numbers in Memphis this season were impressive, no doubt ... and they were more impressive in 2008, when he batted .306/.361/.550 in 510 plate appearances with Memphis. Actually, Freese did open this season with the big club, but was sent down after a couple of weeks and spent a good chunk of the season recovering from an ankle injury. By the time he'd proved he was back in form, the Cardinals had traded for Mark DeRosa.

Meanwhile, nobody really seems to have noticed, but DeRosa was awful after joining the Cardinals. He's a free agent this winter, and turns 35 in February. The Cardinals have made happy noises about bringing him back, but it's pretty obvious that Freese is a significantly cheaper option, and perhaps significantly better. His true arrival seems to have been delayed by roughly a year, but there's no obvious reason to think he won't take over as the Cardinals' every-day third baseman next spring.

Which is great news. Because as Viva El Birdos notes, though nobody really seems to have noticed, the Cardinals hitting attack this season suffered from some real deficiencies. While Freese isn't likely to improve (much) the Cards' lack of discipline, he might help elsewhere.