There has been speculation surrounding the availability of Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus lately.
The team may make Andrus available and bring up Jurickson Profar to replace him as its everyday shortstop in 2013.
One thing that the Rangers front office has always been known for is its willingness to improve the team and listen to every deal that comes across the desk. This winter, they may be inundated with requests for Andrus.
While many teams will inquire, the St. Louis Cardinals may have the best chance at landing Andrus.
The 2012 incarnation of the Cardinals made it all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS before their season ended. While shortstop was not the reason why St. Louis lost to the Giants, it is an area that the team can upgrade heading into the 2013 season.
Rafael Furcal was the team's main shortstop in 2012, playing 117 games at the position. He posted a .264 batting average with a .325 on-base percentage and a .346 slugging percentage, resulting in a .671 OPS—which is below the .7000 to .7666 league "average" for a player.
Elvis Andrus, in comparison, batted .286 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging for a .727 OPS, or average in terms of on-base plus slugging percentage.
That's not the only offensive difference. Take a look at the rest of their batting lines head-to-head:
In fairness, Andrus played in 158 games to Furcal's 121.
Therein lies another obvious difference between the two players. At 35 years old, Furcal is winding his career down. The 24-year-old Andrus has his entire career in front of him.
There is risk involved in trying to acquire Andrus, as Scott Boras is his agent. While he did sign a deal with Texas that bought out the remainder of his arbitration years, he is only under team control through 2014.
At that point, he would likely go to free agency rather than re-upping any deal with whichever club he is on.
That is a risk that the Cardinals should be willing to take, unless they feel 24-year-old Ryan Jackson is ready to take over full time.