St. Louis Cardinals Trade Speculation: 6 Sluggers Worth Pursuing at Deadline
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The St. Louis Cardinals lost former NL batting champion Albert Pujols to free agency this offseason.
The slugger led the team in almost every batting category last season, finishing with 37 home runs, 99 RBI and a .299 batting average.
The Cardinals signed Carlos Beltran to (hopefully) add a little more offense, and are relying on Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and Yadier Molina to continue hitting like they did in 2011.
Still, when the trade deadline nears this summer, St. Louis may still be looking for a proven hitter to strengthen its order for the playoffs. Several players who could be shopped around at the deadline could be viable options to help the Cardinals in the postseason.
Right Fielder - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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Perhaps the Cardinals could work a trade with the team who lured away their best player.
Hunter has hit over 1,000 RBI in his 15-year career and is entering the final year of his five-year, $90 million contract. At 36 years old, the Angels might be willing to move the right fielder if offered the right deal.
His stats dropped off a little last year, but he still managed to hit a .262 average and 23 home runs.
Depending on how the Angels and Hunter's season goes will determine if he's shopped at the deadline.
First Base - Chicago White Sox
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Dunn's stats plummeted after he signed a four-year deal worth $56 million with the White Sox before the 2011 season, hitting only .159 and 11 home runs, but this was partly due to some lingering injuries.
The 32-year-old has played 11 seasons in the majors, is closing in on 1,000 career RBI and has hit over 350 home runs.
If the Cards offered a few expendable prospects after deciding to take a chance on Dunn, a change of teams might help him get back to his old, power-hitting self.
Designated Hitter - Cleveland Indians
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If the Indians are willing to part with Hafner, the Cardinals might try and land him.
The 34-year-old DH has a career .281 batting average and 660 RBI. He is in the final year of his four-year $57.5 million contract, though he does have a 2013 option.
His value, or lack thereof, as a fielder might discourage the Cardinals from pursuing Hafner, but if it doesn't cost too much, he might be a good rental for the postseason.
Hafner hasn't matched the successful seasons he he had in the mid-2000s, but can still hit at the major-league level.
Third Base - New York Mets
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The Mets most likely won't be shopping around Wright, but if the offer is right (and it would likely cost quite a bit), they might consider moving their third baseman.
Wright had one of his worst statistical seasons last year, but a change of teams might be just what the 29-year-old needs after spending his entire eight-year career with the Mets.
He is the final year of his six-year, $55 million contract. The team does have a $16 million option for the 2013 season, but this would not have to be paid to Wright by the team who traded for him.
Right Fielder - Los Angeles Dodgers
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Ethier has posted fairly impressive numbers in his six-year career. The 29-year-old has over 100 home runs and nearly 450 RBI.
He is scheduled to make $10.95 million after signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers this offseason. The Dodgers might be looking to move him to at least get something if he decides not to sign with the team again in the upcoming offseason.
If St. Louis is looking for more hits, Ethier hit .292 last year, but only went yard 11 times.
Center Fielder - Tampa Bay Rays
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Upton's name was among trade speculation last season and might be again this year. The 27-year-old is closing in on 100 career home runs (23 last season) over his seven-year career.
He is signed to a one-year, $7 million deal, but the financially-pressed Rays might try to move Upton to clear some cap space and get some prospects into the organization.
Upton hit .243 last year and is a career .257 hitter.