Rumors out of Texas indicate that Cardinals starters Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse maybe on the Rangers' radar.
Texas lost starter C.J. Wilson to the Angels and is looking to upgrade its rotation with a veteran. Meanwhile the Redbirds have said that they are interested in trading Lohse or Westbrook because of the depth they have in the back end of the rotation and in the bullpen.
As I mentioned before, I'd like to see the Cardinals save some money by dealing one of the starters and invest the cash on improving second base. Lohse makes $11.75 million in the last year of a four-year contract while Westbrook makes about $8 million in the second year of a two-year deal with an option.
Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs and Marc Rzepcynski are all capable of holding down the fifth spot in the rotation until Shelby Miller is ready to join the big league club.
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Both pitchers have no-trade clauses and Lohse has said he would use his to block a deal. But Westbrook is the less accomplished pitcher of the two. Still Westbrook is attractive because he is cheaper and under control for a second season. He might be more attractive to the Rangers, too, because they play in a hitter-friendly ballpark and he's good at getting ground balls.
I wonder if Michael Young is able to play second base still. He's played well over 400 games at second -- but he's primarly a DH and a first baseman lately. He played 14 games at second in 2011 but hasn't played there regularly since 2003. He was the Rangers' starting shortstop as recently as 2008.
Young has been moved around the infield by younger Rangers players and last year he asked for a trade. But he has two years at $16 million each left on his current deal. So Texas would likely have to send some money the Cardinals way to make a deal work. Still, if the Birds did trade Westbrook for Young, they would have tons of infield flexibility and a really nice number two bat.
Although he'd be penciled in at second, Young could play third if David Freese misses half a season to injury for the third year in a row. If the Cardinals have an outfield injury bug, Lance Berkman could go back to right field and Young could play first base.
He's a .304 career hitter with a .350 on base percentage who hits an average of 16 homers -- although that total includes his home bandbox's influence.
SS Furcal (S)
2B Young (R)
LF Holliday (R)
1B Berkman (S)
RF Beltran (S)
3B Freese (R)
C Molina (R)
CF Jay (L)