We're only about two weeks into the Hot Stove league and the trade rumors are already heating up for the Cardinals. Two areas that appear to be on the front burner are the quest for a shortstop and whether or not to trade David Freese.
Here's a look at the rumors surrounding those two areas:
The Quest for a Shortstop
John Mozeliak made it known shortly after the end of the season that he was willing to trade one of his young starting pitchers for a "young controllable shortstop", per Jim Bowden, and its been rumored that Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller are on the block.
The Cardinals have already checked in on Texas' Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, who are both on the block (along with Ian Kinsler) and reportedly talked with the Rockies about Troy Tulowitzki during the GM/owner meetings (per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports).
The Rockies, apparently not liking what the Cardinals had to offer, were quick to say that they were not trading Tulowitzki, according to John Heyman. Perhaps this is just a way to gain leverage and drive up Tulo's price or they are dead serious. In any case, it appears that Tulowitzki is off the table, for now.
Of course, if the asking price for Tulowitzki is as high as was suggested by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (Allen Craig, Shelby Miller AND Trevor Rosenthal), then its probably for the best.
The Cardinals then apparently turned their attention to Oakland's Jed Lowrie, according to Peter Gammons. However, A's manager Bob Melvin put the kibosh on that rumor saying that "Maybe [the Cardinals] made a call and inquired about him ... we’re not looking to move Jed Lowrie."
The Orioles then decided to jump into the fray and see if the Cardinals were overspend for a shortstop by offering J.J. Hardy for Shelby Miller. They were promptly turned down, much to the relief of Cardinals fans everywhere.
So, where does that leave us?
Basically, it appears that only Hardy and one of Andrus or Profar are on the market at this point. Perhaps the Cardinals could pry away Tulowitzki or Lowrie, if they overpay, but I don't see that happening. As Jennifer Langosch points out, the Cardinals are unlikely to mortgage the farm for a shortstop.
What to do with David Freese?
Throughout the 2013 season, there was much speculation as to what will become of David Freese, sub par years have a way of raising those questions.
Bernie Miklasz posted a nice article recently going through the various options that the Cardinals have concerning Freese, so I won't regurgitate those here, however, it basically boils down to holding onto him or trading him.
The Yankees have talked to the Cardinals about Freese as a fallback for PED dispenser Alex Rodriguez, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, but there does not appear to be any traction in those talks, as of now.
Personally, I would like to see the Cardinals hold on to Freese. As I pointed out in my article the other day, Freese hits lefties well and would be at minimum a platoon partner with Kolten Wong and a valuable bat off the bench.
That pretty much catches us up-to-date on the latest Cardinals rumors. I will continue to report on the latest rumors as they pop up.