The St. Louis Cardinals are looking for that one big offseason move that will define their 2014 season.
Focusing on the trade possibilities alone, let's brainstorm some "ideal" situations. Now, take the word "ideal" with a grain of salt because let's face it—a truly ideal trade would involve the Rockies handing over superstar Troy Tulowitzki for a 12-pack of Coors Light. But these scenarios aren't going to be 100 percent realistic either.
For purposes here, think about a realistic trade possibility and then tweak it a bit to make it more pleasing to Mozeliak's eye.
Without further ado, let's have some fun with the Cardinals hot stove!
*All statistics courtesy of Baseball-reference.com.
Cardinals Get: Troy Tulowitzki
Rockies Get: Lance Lynn, Kolten Wong, Tyrell Jenkins
A player the caliber of Tulowitzki would cost the Cards a lot. The goal here would be for St. Louis to get away with getting him without giving up any key youngsters—think Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Matt Adams, etc.
In this dream scenario, the Rockies could end up with a 26-year-old proven arm in Lynn and two of the Cardinals' top prospects, as ranked by MLB.com.
For those who aren't familiar, Jenkins is an athletic starter who has good stuff, but has seen his share of struggles. Considering the fact that the Cards have a plethora of young pitching, Jenkins is probably one of the less-risky alternatives in comparison to a Miller or a Martinez, and yet he still carries enough clout to attract a team that is somewhat desperate for pitching.
Wong has yet to find his stride in St. Louis, but that doesn't discredit the fact that he raked in the minors. As fans are aware, it seems that either Wong or Freese will get the boot in St. Louis due to an excess of infielders. Using Wong to get a marquee name would be a pretty sweet deal in the end.
Cardinals Get: Jurickson Profar
Rangers Get: Kolten Wong
Speaking of Wong...
Let's talk about a good old-fashioned straight-up trade. For a while in 2013, the rumor mill was abuzz with talk of Taveraz for Profar—the two top prospects in baseball. Let's amend this a bit and take a look.
Due to the sudden blockbuster trade of Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder on Wednesday, second base for the Rangers has been freed up. Profar will presumably take Kinsler's place, allowing Texas to keep him and Elvis Andrus, a pair previously thought to be doomed for splitsville. But nothing is set in stone.
Profar is a natural shortstop, and going to St. Louis would allow him to play in his most comfortable element while the Rangers would get a second baseman in Wong. Both were highly touted prospects who didn't demonstrate their full potential in their debut seasons, but promise to have exciting careers. Between the two of them, Profar is probably seen as being a step above Wong.
There's almost zero chance of a deal like this going down, but it would be a win for St. Louis if it did.
Cardinals Get: J.J. Hardy
Orioles Get: Lance Lynn
Just a week ago, the Orioles proposed a Hardy-Miller trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, that had some Cardinals fans laughing. But the reaction might have been quite different if it were another young arm that Baltimore wanted.
Lynn is a polarizing figure in St. Louis. He has a tendency to make the city cringe with his one-inning implosions, and yet he has had a stream of success with 18 wins in 2012 and 15 wins in 2013. Considering that, it's hard not to be happy with the guy.
The reason that Lynn wouldn't be too detrimental of a loss for the Cardinals is because he is a magnet for getting run support, begging the question: can he do it on his own without an All-Star offense? Between Lynn and Miller, Miller is the much more valuable long-term option.
If the Orioles were willing to drop their expectations a bit, having Hardy and his Gold Glove come to St. Louis might become a lot more exciting for Cardinals fans. Hardy had an impressive year in 2013, hitting .263 with 76 RBI and 25 homers.
Cardinals Get: Asdrubal Cabrera
Indians Get: Lance Lynn, David Freese, Thomas Pham
By this point, we've established that Lance Lynn is probably the most expendable of the Cardinals' desirable young pitchers. Freese is also expendable if the Cards decide to keep Wong. After Freese's down year in 2013, it's probably better for general manager John Mozeliak to lose Freese rather than his second baseman. Throw in a decent top-20 Cardinals prospect and—poof—you get Cabrera.
Wouldn't it be nice if it worked out that way?
The Indians could use an upgrade at third base over Lonnie Chisenhall, which they might find in Freese. Pham is estimated to make his debut in 2014, meaning he could be ready to make an impact from the bench. But when looking at the talent of other Cardinals prospects, losing Pham wouldn't be a big deal.
In a dream this wouldn't be a bad price to pay for the valuable Cabrera, who hit .242 with 64 RBI and 14 homers in 2013, and has been an asset to the Indians for years.