3 Realistic Shortstop Options Cardinals Can Consider Via Trade or FA Market
Shortstop has been a weak spot all season and postseason for the St. Louis Cardinals. There is little doubt the Cardinals will be going with Pete Kozma or Daniel Descalso as their first option for the 2014 campaign.
As a team with very few holes to fill, this will be a primary focus for the Cardinals in the offseason.
Here is a list of possible shortstops to fill the void for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals missed Rafael Furcal in 2013. He is a much upgraded offensive talent over anything the Cardinals ran out to shortstop this season. While Kozma may be a slightly better defender, he couldn't hit a baseball if he was swinging a log.
Furcal made $7 million last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2013. If the Cardinals do go after Furcal, they should look to sign him to an incentive-laden deal based on performance.
Furcal will be 36 for the 2014 regular season and has been injury-prone as of late, spending time on the DL in 2012 and all of 2013.
I still think the Cardinals ought to give Furcal a good look if it appears he is recovering well from his Tommy John operation.
He still has good speed and can provide a little pop at the plate, provided he returns to pre-injury form.
Jed Lowrie was finally able to stay healthy for an entire season, and the Oakland Athletics were rewarded with an excellent performance from him.
While the A's gave up some pretty decent prospects for Lowrie in the spring of 2013, it's not to say GM Billy Beane wouldn't listen to a decent offer for his shortstop. Beane is known for his Moneyball way of putting his team together, and with Lowrie due a big raise in arbitration, perhaps a deal could be had.
Lowrie batted .290 with 15 home runs and 75 RBI for the A's in 2013. Those numbers would fit in rather nicely anywhere but would be a great addition to a potent Cardinals lineup.
The Cardinals would have to deal some of their well-stocked cupboard of prospects to get Lowrie, but I think GM John Mozeliak would be able to craft a deal that makes sense without giving up the farm if he wanted Lowrie bad enough.
That is one of the major pluses of having such a deep farm system; the Cardinals can always be a player in the trade market.
This guy may not be Cardinal material, as he has been implicated as a PED user. But putting that major issue aside, he is probably one of the best available shortstops on the market.
Jhonny Peralta put a nice season together before he was suspended for PED use in early August. He was batting .305 at the time of the suspension and finished at .303. Peralta hit 11 home runs and drove in 55 in 107 games.
The Cardinals aren't willing to overpay to fill their shortstop position, and as the prime free-agent shortstop on the market, Peralta may get some pretty nice offers.
But if the Cardinals approached Peralta, he ought to listen, as St. Louis is a place where careers and reputations can be resurrected.