The Hot Stove League is in full swing and the rumors are swirling at a rapid pace. At this rate, the Cardinals will have about 10 shortstops to fill their void before the week is out.
Here is a breakdown of some of those rumors and the pros and cons with each rumored player as they pertains to the Cardinals' needs.
Pros: Tulo is by far the best shortstop in the National League when healthy. He can hit for power and has an excellent glove with great range. The guy is game-changer and a middle-of-the-lineup presence any team would want.
Cons: The Cardinals would have to package a pretty sweet deal of pitching and other prospects to get Tulowitzki. I don't think he is worth it in the long run.
This deal may be dead at this point, but as any baseball fan knows, deals can heat back up again at the drop of a hat. One possible scenario to heat things back up would be for the Cardinals to perhaps offer Lance Lynn in exchange for Hardy after the Cardinals turned down the Orioles' offer of Hardy for Shelby Miller.
Pros: Hardy is coming off the best year of his career. He raked in all kinds of awards this season, including being an All-Star, Gold Glove winner and Silver Slugger. Hardy swatted 25 home runs and drove in 76 runs while being a plus defender.
Cons: Hardy will be 31 next season and will only be under contract through 2014. It would obviously be a bad trade for the Cardinals if they couldn't find a way to extend Hardy beyond 2014. I would like to see the Cardinals get a core shortstop if they trade a highly valuable arm and frankly Hardy doesn't meet that criterion.
Pros: Lowrie had a career year in 2013. He hit .290 with 15 home runs and 75 RBI and knocked 45 doubles. Lowrie showed he can play when he stays on the field. Plus, Lowrie would be the cheapest option of the three shortstops mentioned. He made $2.4 million in 2013 and is arbitration eligible for 2014. He'll get a raise, but it will still be less than what Tulo and Hardy make.
Cons: Lowrie has only had one season, 2013, where he played more than 97 games. So who knows what a team will get if they somehow acquire Lowrie. Will he be the guy who played 154 games or the guy who can barely stay on the field. One other con is the question raised earlier about a core-type player. Lowrie is a better option than Hardy in that department, but his injury history could seriously cramp his core status.
It will be exciting to see what the Cardinals will do to fill their shortstop needs for 2014. With their deep pool of talent to shop with, the Cardinals are in the drivers seat to make whatever deal they deem suitable.
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