Yankees Rumors: David Freese Would Be Pivotal Upgrade at 3rd Base

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 13, 2013

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 26:  David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 26, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The New York Yankees are reportedly interested in acquiring St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese in a trade.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reported the development on Wednesday:

In a follow-up report by Feinsand, it was indicated that the Yankees are proceeding as if superstar Alex Rodriguez will be on the roster. However, whether A-Rod is in the fold or not, Freese would be a great bargain to bring in as an upgrade.

While saying that Freese is an upgrade over Rodriguez is blasphemous on the surface, it is not necessarily A-Rod at stake on third base.

Feinsand explains the rationale for bringing in someone like Freese in noting that Rodriguez figures to need time to acclimatize to playing every day again, and would begin his prospective return as a designated hitter.

A potential 211-game suspension looms for Rodriguez, so there's no guarantee he will in fact be around to contribute. Either way, there will be a void at third base that must be filled.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees looks on from the dugout in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 26, 2013 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The only other option to cover his corner of the diamond at the moment is versatile infielder Eduardo Nunez, who started in place of injured Yankee legend Derek Jeter at shortstop for 69 games last season.

The issue in dealing for Freese is that the Yankees, while sporting a huge payroll, don't have much ammunition in a prospective deal to offer the Cardinals, per FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal:

Then again, Feinsand alludes to Freese's injury history, which includes multiple ankle ailments and might drive down the cost of trading for him and his leverage to maneuver for a lucrative contract.

It will take some brilliance from general manager Brian Cashman to pull off a swap regardless, but it is in the team's best interest for him to do so if the Bronx Bombers are meant to be competitive in 2013.

Freese saw a decline in production at the plate this season, with his average dropping from .293 to .262, but he is a previous World Series MVP who has shined on the big stage in the past.

Although Freese's defense is a concern, he is at least competent enough—and has a valuable enough bat—to justify at least a short-term stint wearing the pinstripes.

Feinsand also points out that the Cardinals are trying to make room for top prospect Kolten Wong by sliding Matt Carpenter over from second base to third. Thus, this move would make sense for both parties—assuming the Yankees give St. Louis appropriate value in exchange for Freese.

As long as the 30-year-old is able to recuperate and get healthy, he should be able to help the Yankees bounce back from missing the playoffs for just the second time in the past 19 seasons.