The trade market just got a whole lot more interesting.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Texas Rangers have made it be known that they are willing to listen on anyone.
What does that mean to the Cardinals?
Well, for one thing, they could possibly pursue someone like Elvis Andrus, who would give the team a better defensive shortstop than Jhonny Peralta, and allow them to move Peralta to second.
The Cards second basemen, led by Kolten Wong, have struggled on offense and the addition of Andrus could certainly give the team's offense a boost.
Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch suggested that the Cardinals could look for an upgrade at second. However, the cost for Andrus could prove prohibitive.
While looking for ways to improve the offense is all well and good, I think the Cards should focus their attention on Joakim Soria.
The Cardinals bullpen has seen its share of ups and downs so far this year. While Jason Motte has come back from Tommy John surgery and pitched well, his velocity is down from his pre-surgery days and he has lost some of his former dominance as a result.
In addition, losing Kevin Siegrist to injury and Carlos Martinez to the starting rotation has also depleted the bullpen. Therefore, adding another quality arm to the pen makes sense.
In the past the Cards have gone after struggling relievers like Edward Mujica and John Axford, who they were able to get for cheap, and were able to turn them around. However, their luck is bound to run out at some point. Why not get a proven guy for once to strengthen the back end of the pen?
Soria has been downright nasty this season with a 1.75 ERA and a 35/3 K/BB ratio in 25.2 IP. Adding him to the pen would help ease the burden on the Cardinals current closer, Trevor Rosenthal, so that he no longer has to pitch 1.1 innings and throw 41 pitches to nail down the save (and then be expected to throw again the next day).
Finally, while landing a quality reliever like Soria would cost the Cardinals more in terms of prospects, he would not be just a summer rental. Soria is signed through the 2014 season at $5.5 million, but has a $7 million option for 2015. With Motte, who is earning $7 million this season, potentially becoming a free agent after this season, if the Cards cannot resign him, then they can just pick up Soria's option to replace him.
Overall, I think it would be a good move for the Cards, unless the Rangers start asking for a king's ransom in return. The hope is that the offense will finally kick into gear and the starting pitching will get healthy, leaving the bullpen as the only area of need.