The St. Louis Cardinals went into the offseason with a very short shopping list. Solidify the bullpen, which they accomplished with the signing of Randy Choate, and upgrade the middle infield.
The rumors have flown and the team has been attached to just about any shortstop that was even rumored to be available. While rumors and pundits wondered what direction they would go, they have quietly stood their ground. Whether that is by choice or by force, the team has not been able to pull the trigger and the options have gotten slim.
The most active rumor was concerning Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera. Now that Cleveland has completed a deal that sent Shin Soo Choo to Cincinnati, most expect them to keep the soon-to-be free agent for the time being. Cabrera offered a large upgrade offensively as well as an above average glove. Possibly the player that would have made the most impact for the team, Cabrera seems to be off the market and out of the question.
While very few rumors surfaced surrounding the young Dodger shortstop Dee Gordon, it seemed like a logical fit when the West Coast Yankees expressed interest in utility man Skip Schumaker. Alas, the Cardinals got a shortstop in return, but it was in the form of former fifth round draft pick Jake Lemmerman. The move provided St. Louis with a much needed addition in depth at the minor league level, but leaves them contemplating what to do at the major league level still.
Further rumors connected the Redbirds to the player that proved to be a thorn in their side in this year’s National League Championship Series, Marco Scutaro. Scutaro had the unique ability to provide an upgrade at either short or second base and could have added some veteran leadership to a club that continues to get even younger. Scutaro proved that his loyalty was to the team that brought him his first championship and signed on the dotted line to remain in San Francisco.
Possibly the largest rumor of them all had the Cards looking to bring Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus to the Gateway City. Andrus represented an increase in offensive productivity, he would be a step back on the defensive front. Texas has the youth to make such a move, but as the winter has gone on, they have seemed like they do not have faith that they are ready to make that move as of yet. News breaking of Josh Hamilton‘s new contract in Anaheim will have Texas looking to hold on to the offensive weapons they have. They are in the market for pitching, which the Cardinals have an abundance of, but the price may be too steep overall.
The final hope may be a player they have expressed interest in already this offseason, Stephen Drew. Drew has drawn interest from multiple places. Most experts expect him to land back in Oakland but no movement has been made to that direction as of yet. Drew would be a risk investment as the Cardinals would hope that his offensive production could return to levels previously shown in his early career. He also poses a bit of a health risk which may not be that much better than what they currently have. There has been talk of Drew being willing to play second base, which makes him a bit more attractive in the long run.
The club has stood by the fact that it would wait to hear how current shortstop Rafael Furcal‘s injury was progressing before they would pursue any other options. What few reports have surfaced concerning Furcal have been positive.
If, in fact, this team wants to upgrade in the middle infield, it may be time to do it or miss out.