This is the time of year baseball junkies live for. Every day brings a new scenario of who could be joining a given team. In the case of the Cardinals, it's a daily soap opera as to who will be manning shortstop for the Cardinals in 2014.
Here is a little fact or fiction regarding some of the offseason rumors that are swirling around the St. Louis Cardinals.
It appears to be no secret that the Texas Rangers would be very willing to move Elvis Andrus with Jurickson Profar waiting in the wings.
Andrus is guaranteed a little more than $51 million over the next four seasons before having a player opt-out clause in 2018 and 2019.
The question in everyone's mind is what the Cardinals would have to give up for Andrus. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides an interesting piece on a variety of scenarios to get Andrus into a Cardinal uniform.
Andrus doesn't provide much power but is a decent defender who is durable and has excellent speed. Andrus has played in at least 145 games in every year of his career and in 2013, stole a career-high 42 bases.
A fair trade for Andrus in my mind would be to give up Lance Lynn, and if it's a deal-killer, Matt Adams. It would be nice to get Andrus for Lynn straight up, but it won't happen. The Cardinals could put Taveras in right field to replace the departed Carlos Beltran and leave Jon Jay in center and Allen Craig at first.
So it is fair to say the Cardinals' interest in Andrus is legit.
In an ideal world, the Cardinals could get Troy Tulowitzki and have the Rockies pick up a huge chunk of his contract as part of the trade.
Unfortunately, that is not going to happen, and I think any interest in Tulowitzki was superficial at best.
The Cardinals are smarter than that to take on a $130 million contract for a player who struggles to stay healthy. Tulo is hands down the best shortstop in the league when healthy, but the guy just seems to be cursed when it comes to staying healthy.
He would be instantly loved in St. Louis and be a major core player for the Cardinals, but all scenarios to acquire him just aren't in the cards, so to speak.
According to CBSSports.com writer Jon Heyman, the Cardinals have taken some interest in Stephen Drew as a possible fit at shortstop.
Personally, I don't think Drew is the right answer. He has only hit .245 over the last three seasons and only averaged 96 games played.
Drew showed a little look into his past power by popping 13 home runs in 2013, but the guy is not worth whatever insane number his agent Scott Boras will throw out there. There have been no numbers thrown out there yet, but Drew turned down a qualifying $14.1 million offer from the Red Sox to pursue free agency.
Drew, if he could stay healthy, would be an OK fit, but he is certainly not a top-flight shortstop.
There have been small snippets of rumors that the Cardinals had some interest in Erick Aybar at one point. Turns out, they don't have much interest after all.
The Angels would want a top-tier prospect in exchange for Aybar. He is an excellent defender and swings a pretty good stick. But with the Angels wanting a Carlos Martinez-type player in exchange, the Cardinals won't give up future innings for an above-average shortstop.
The Cardinals have expressed interest in Asdrubal Cabrera according to Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com.
Cabrera would be a nice fit for the Cardinals, but they would have to get him in a trade and work out a way to sign him long-term. Cabrera is only under contract through 2014, and it wouldn't be worth giving up a Lance Lynn and perhaps a prospect for a guy who would only be in town for one season.
Cabrera is a two-time All-Star and has some pop. In 2011, Cabrera smacked 25 home runs and has hit 14 or more the last two seasons. Additionally, he is a decent defender and would be a nice fit for the Cardinals.
It remains to be seen what Cardinals GM John Mozeliak would put up to get Cabrera, but he would have to come up with something sweet for the Indians to give up an All-Star middle infielder.