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Cardinals GM not opposed to improving Lackey's deal next season

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ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals have John Lackey at a bargain price next season, but may be willing to sweeten the deal.

General manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday he'd meet with the agent for the 36-year-old right-hander at the winter meetings next week.

"I wouldn't rule anything out there," Mozeliak said.

Lackey's contract calls for a $500,000 salary next season, the major league minimum, because he missed the 2012 season while recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery. The right-hander just completed an $82.5 million, five-year contract he signed with Boston.

Lackey was traded from the Red Sox to St. Louis last July. He went a combined 14-10 with a 3.83 ERA and was 1-0 in two postseason starts for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Mozeliak also said former Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter would not return to the front office after serving one season after his retirement.

"I think in Carp's case, he wasn't ready to truly commit to the job," Mozeliak said. "For all of you who know Chris Carpenter, it's all-in or he prefers to be all-out."

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