BenFred: Cardinals have work to do once lockout ends

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FILE – St. Louis Cardinals bench coach Oliver Marmol watches from the dugout in the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver, in this Friday, July 2, 2021, file photo. The Cardinals plan to announce Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, that bench coach Oliver Marmol will be promoted to replace fired manager Mike Shildt, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday night because the team hadn’t revealed the hiring publicy. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

David Zalubowski

Ben Frederickson

If an optimist about MLB’s lockout does some back-of-the-napkin math counting back from what is supposed to be opening day, it appears baseball has given itself about three months to smooth over thorny labor issues in time for a rushed spring training.

For the Cardinals, that means about 12 weeks to best assess the work they need to do once the business of baseball resumes.

Signing Steven Matz to a four-year, $44 million deal before the lockout made sense. The rotation needed some left-handed lean. Matz is a groundball-getter and walk-avoider. He should pair nicely with a defense that has become elite.

But even if one can ignore the understandable longing for new Mets cornerstone Max Scherzer — guilty — and overlook the obvious appeal of new Cubs addition Marcus Stroman, there still are some legitimate concerns about the Cards’ lone significant addition…

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