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He seemed pretty proud about his place in St. Louis after Game 7.

“It doesn’t matter the numbers, it doesn’t matter the records, it doesn’t matter the money that you make,” Pujols said. “What matters is to raise that trophy and to be able to bring that smile to the city of St. Louis.

“And not just the city of St. Louis, but all our fans around the world.”

Mozeliak has more than just Pujols on his plate. But after the postseason, the roster just seemed so much deeper.

October brought out new stars in third baseman David Freese, the MVP of both the NLCS and World Series, and Allen Craig, whose big bat helped the team overcome injuries to cleanup hitter Matt Holliday.

Freese was the Cardinals‘ most dangerous hitter throughout the playoffs.

“The nation started to see what type of talent he is,” Mozeliak said. “We always knew what we had, it was just a matter of keeping healthy and on the field.

“When he’s healthy, you can see he is an elite player.”

Craig’s homer was the go-ahead hit in Game 7, and then he robbed Nelson Cruz of a homer with a catch high above the left field wall.

“His expectations of himself are to be an everyday major league player, and a good one,” Mozeliak said. “Our job is going to find him at-bats.”

Pitching stalwarts emerged, too. Hard-throwing Jason Motte nailed down the closer role that was up for grabs most of the year. Relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Lance Lynn stepped up alongside veterans Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes, who both played in their first World Series.

All five starters are under contract for next season.

If Pujols decides to leave, there is a Plan B. Berkman, the NL comeback player of the year, could move to first and Craig could be the regular right fielder.

And the Cardinals would have plenty left to spend on other upgrades. They’ve expressed interest in retaining Furcal, but at much less than his $12 million option.

Jackson is a free agent, too, and a player the Cardinals had figured they were just renting. That championship feeling had him thinking St. Louis was the place to be.

Story Continues →