Cardinals may view Jimmy Rollins as fallback target if Albert Pujols doesn’t re-sign

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As the Cardinals wait for Albert Pujols to make a decision Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that they “could shift their focus to Jimmy Rollins” if the three-time MVP signs elsewhere.

Rollins obviously wouldn’t replace Pujols–in the lineup or at first base–but the Cardinals also have an opening at shortstop and with Rafael Furcal also a free agent their current depth chart has Tyler Greene as the leading in-house option.

General manager John Mozeliak made it pretty clear to Goold that he’s hoping Pujols makes a decision one way or another fairly quickly so the Cardinals can move forward with the rest of their offseason plans, many of which hinge on whether they have Pujols or a whole bunch of money to spend.

Rollins’ status may also be in limbo until Pujols makes his decision, because adding the Cardinals to the bidding mix could change his market dramatically.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.