Winter is over. Pitchers and catchers are in spring training camps across Arizona and Florida.

Optimism is the word for most baseball fans. Sure, there are a half dozen or so teams with virtually no chance at October last year, but none of them are in this part of the country.

For the Cardinals, the off season buzz is that the bullpen will be strong once again. Early reports are that Jordan Walden is healthy. He was not in 2015. Walden came from Atlanta with current Cub Jason Heyward in the Shelby Miller trade. Walden figured to be the 8th inning set up man a year ago before the battle began with a shoulder strain. As it was, the Cardinal bullpen was outstanding without him in 2015.

Adam Wainwright is back and figures to be the staff ace. Michael Wacha is already a veteran at the age of 24. The rest of the rotation isn’t bad either, even with Lance Lynn out for the year and John Lackey gone to the Cubs. It’s a reasonable bet that Mike Leake steps in and carries the load in the rotation. A full season from Jaime Garcia and a healthy, rested Carlos Martinez. I’m of the belief that quality pitching is 90 percent, or more of winning baseball. Cards are in great shape on that count.

I’ll be watching in the spring to see how first base shakes out. Matt Adams? Brandon Moss? Or will the everyday first baseman be someone currently in another organization? Matt Holliday has been working at first base, but I don't see him as an everyday answer.

Holliday, Randall Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham are a good start around the outfield. The key here is the health of Holliday and Grichuk. If both of ‘em are healthy and in the lineup for 120 or more games, the Cardinal offense should be in good shape.

Biggest concern for me on the infield is Jhonny Peralta. How much is left in the tank?

Time to start answering the questions.