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Rumor Mill: Is Freddy Sanchez on the block?

I wonder if the Cardinals have any interest in Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who may have been trying to pave his way out of Pittsburgh with recent harsh comments about the dumping of Bucko cornerstone Nate McLouth.

Sanchez could be a nice addition to the top of the St. Louis batting order with a .315 batting average and an .831 on base plus slugging percentage. He's not the best fielding second baseman in the game. But since Skip Schumaker is at the very bottom of the MLB fielding charts as a second sacker, Sanchez still stands to be something of an improvement defensively, too.

He makes $6.1 million this year, or roughly $4 million for the balance of the year. Sanchez has a cost prohibitive option, however, at $8 million next year.

So, don't exercize it? Well, it's not that easy. It's a vesting option that guarantees Sanchez it will be picked up with 635 plate appearances in 2009 or 600 plate appearances and his selection to the All-Star Game.

The 31-year-old Sanchez has 228 plate appearances through 54 Pirates games, which puts him on a pace for 683 plate appearances. He doesn't rank in the top five All-Star vote getters for National League second baseman, but Sanchez could be selected for the All-Star Game as a reserve. He hitting 17 points better than Pittsburgh's next best hitter, Andy LaRoche. The only threat to his all star berth may be 6-4 starter Zach Duke who has a sparkling 2.62 ERA.

Schumaker needs to move back to the outfield, which may seem crowded now, but could be a lot more wide open in 2010.