Cheap Seats

Rumor Mill: Cards hot and heavy with Rays... Over Upton?

The Cardinals might not be making much progress on landing an outfielder. But according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, they're working very deliberately to address another need...

Landing an outfielder?

Sherman writes that the Cardinals are "very serious" in their efforts to land Tampa Bay flychaser B.J. Upton. And, while I am an Upton fan, I'm still trying to understand why.

Upton has a rare blend of power and speed. He's cranked 15 homers already this year with 23 stolen bases. He's struggled with a .229 batting average (he's got a .310 on base percentage, which is pretty good considering his BA) this season but has hit .300 in the past. I wonder what a switch from the pitching rich AL East to the weak sister NL Central would do for his hitting...

It's a well known secret that the Cardinals are listening to offers for Colby Rasmus, so they could need a centerfielder. But the Birds have a pretty good alternative in center in the form of Jon Jay. They also have a backup in Skippy Schumaker.

Are the Redbirds wasting their time trying to bolster a spot where they are already deep?

Sherman said the Birds are interested in Upton as a replacement for Rasmus whom they hope to swap for pitching. So I guess, despite assertions that Jay has won the starting outfield job, he's still in the plans as the fourth man.

Upton is making $4.85 million this season and he's eligible for one more bite at the arbitration apple in 2012, so it worries me slightly that he might make it tougher to bring Albert Pujols back beyond this season. But if the Birds are able to-resign Pujols, Upton would likely take Lance Berkman's salary slot. Of course, if Pujols left, Berkman could be re-signed to play first base and Upton would help fill in the outfield picture.