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Cards still favored to land Flip

Felipe Lopez is still expected to end up in St. Louis, according to yet another unidentified "official" tapped by ESPN's Buster Olney.

Word is that the only other interested bidder for Lopez at this point is San Diego... And the Padres are strictly looking for bargain basement finds.

I'm not sure if the Cardinals and Lopez's people are haggling over money or playing time. But the former probably isn't going to improve as the Birds seem content to go without Lopez if he doesn't like their terms... And the latter probably isn't going to change, either, as the early word on rookie third baseman David Freese is that he looks like he is raring to go.

Lopez isn't going to be a starter here -- unless something bad happens -- but he could still get a whole pile of at bats playing some third base against righties and some second against lefties while filling in every once in a while at short and the outfield corners.

I'm surprised that a lot of the sports pundits are tying the Cardinals slow draw on Lopez to Brendan Ryan's recovery from wrist surgery. Lopez hasn't played regularly at short for several years. I believe the Cardinals think of him more as a Mark DeRosa type player who will migrate from position to position than a potential starting shortstop should Ryan falter.

If Ryan can't play on opening day, Tyler Greene is the most likely replacement with Julio Lugo coming in second.