St. Louis Cardinals Shopping For Third Baseman

Justin HulseyCorrespondent IMay 23, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 18:  Mark DeRosa #7 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates hitting a three run home run iwith scoring batters Grady Sizemore #24 and Ben Francisco #12 against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 18, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)


A week ago we Cardinal fans pretty much thought the sky falling. We could not hit, we could not pitch, and we could not field. We were struggling at every aspect of the game possible.

The Cards had lost three in a row and it seemed like everybody was hurting. Since Monday, we have allowed two runs against what most thought to be the best team in the NL. After this series, people are starting to realize that they are not the best team in their own division.

We put an absolute ass whoppin’ on Chicago (saying that felt good), and came out of the gates hot against Kansas City tonight. In our four game winning streak, we have outscored the opponent 13-2.

While the offense was not outstanding vs the Cubs, it was obviously good enough. When you have three straight GEMS, you do not have to put up a seven spot every game.

However, I have seen some good things on the offensive side these past two games. On Thursday, we managed three runs six hits. Tonight, our offense looked much better with five runs on seven hits, a Tyler Greene home run, and a Khalil Greene two-RBI double. Khalil has had at least one RBI in the past couple games.

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When looking at our lineup offensively, there is one major hole.

Our third basemen have collectively batted .252 with three home runs and 17 RBI. Looking at that, you see a struggling player. BUT WAIT, these are the total stats of not one player, not two players, but FOUR players. To add insult to injury, the players that have played 3B this season have struck out 24 times while slotted at the five position.

How do we fix it? We gotta reach outside of the organization.

Brett Wallace is too young and inexperienced. People say if he is ready, bring him up. Why take that risk? Why jeopardize our best Minor League prospect? The difference between AAA and the MLB is astronomical.

While Barden is good, he is not the solution for a playoff contending team. If Barden can keep his average above .275 while playing every day, then we can keep with him. But I don’t know if he can.

We could wait for Troy Glaus, but NOBODY knows when that could be. Reports now are saying a July comeback is possible. Even if he does make it in time for the final run, who know how good he could be? That is IF he comes back.

We don’t have an option if we want to contend for a Ring. We have to take these rumors and convert them into actual players.

In the past week, there has been immense talk about the Cardinals looking to trade for a 3B. When there are four different reports saying the same thing but with a different team, you’d be naïve not to listen to them.

There have been many conflicting reports, but here are the main candidates:

Adrian Beltre

The 30-year-old Seattle third baseman is struggling right now, but always does in the early portion of the season. He is currently batting .205 but is sure to bring that up.

As most of you know, Beltre made a name for himself in 2004 when he took the NL MVP award with the Dodgers. Do not expect to see the 48/121 line that Beltre had back then, but he is capable up 25 homers and 90 RBI. I mean, hell, the guy has averaged 26 HRs and 93 RBI.

162 GM average: .269, 25 HRs, 88 RBI
Contract: $13.4 million

Garrett Atkins

Just like Beltre, Atkins has struggled of late. Atkins has more than Beltre, with a .187 average in COLORADO. If you are hitting .187 in the easiest place to hit in the country, why should we think it will be better in St. Louis?

Atkins is the only candidate that is still in his 20s. Again, he plays in Coors Field and history shows us that hitters leaving Colorado have a hard time in their new location.

Atkins is probably the best hitter out of all the players the Cards are interested, I would be too if I played in Denver. Although a great hitter in Colorado is still a good hitter everywhere else. Perfect example would be his splits for this season… Atkins is batting .215 at home, and .166 when the visitor.

162 GM average: .292, 22 HRs, 105 RBI
Contract: $7.0 million

Melvin Mora

There are some pros and cons to this one. Mora is playing well, and always has been very good, but is creeping his way toward 40 yrs old.

He is on pace for 85 RBI, and when healthy, can get that number up to 100 every time. Last season, he WAS healthy all year and totaled 105 RBI while sporting a hefty .488 LG%.

162 GM average: .279, 20 HRs, 82 RBI
Contract: $8.0 million

Mark DeRosa

This is the interesting one. DeRosa is more of a utility player than anything, but can certainly play third. He is listed as a 3B/RF, but can actually play third, second, first, and the entire outfield.

The Cards need a third baseman, but if we even had any injury that involved a middle infielder, DeRosa could take that role to. He is very versatile and has said over and over he can play any position on the field.

Before heading to Cleveland, DeRosa played with Chicago for a couple years. Last season was the best of his career with the Cubs when he belted over 20 HRs and 87 RBI. It would be a good shot in the arm for the Cubs if we landed DeRosa.

DeRosa has been on a tear lately, and has put together a nice season so far. In the past week, Mark is batting .326… bringing his season average to .256. He already has six home runs and 27 RBI, so it looks like his 2008 was no fluke.

He is the best fit for the Cards, and is the one the organization is most interested in. With lack of infield depth, DeRosa would be a major lift for the offense.

162 GM average: .278, 13 HR, 66 RBI
Contract: $5.5 million

There is one problem though. For any of these trades to take place we will need to give up “starting pitchers that are MLB-ready”. That is what all of the teams are asking for, and I don’t know if MO/DeWitt are ready to deal that.

In fact, I don’t even know if there are any SPs that we are willing to give up. I would say Blake Hawksworth or Clay Mortenson could be the ones that get moved, but are they MLB-ready? The only guy that I can think of that is young and MLB-ready would be Mitchell Boggs.

It kills me to say this, but I think Boggs could be on his way out. I hope I am wrong, but who else? I don’t think the Cards would deal anybody that is currently in the rotation considering our SP is the best in the majors this week. Why would they look to disrupt that?

IF I was John Mozeliak, I would do whatever it takes to land one of these four guys.