I wonder if the Rangers' call up of shorstop Jurickson Profar could mean that club might be interested in dealing incumbent Elvis Andrus.
Andrus, as Cardinals fans saw during the 2011 World Series, is a slick fielding shortstop with occasional pop. He's a .277 career hitter with 30-plus stolen bases in every complete season he's played. He has 20 so far this year, so he might not make it to his usual standard this year. But he's enjoying his best year with the bat, hitting .298 with a .361 on base percentage.
He wouldn't be cheap if the Rangers were willing to give Andrus up. But it might be worth it to land him because good shortstops are at a premium these days. And the Cardinals seem to have a surplus of things Texas might want in trade -- like young power pitching and slugging first baseman Matt Adams.
The Rangers have been looking for power at first base since Mark Teixeira left to join the Yankees. Mike Napoli plays there sometimes. But he's a mediocre catcher who really is more suited as a designated hitter than he is anyplace in the field. Meanwhile Adams' lefty stick would play well in Arlington Stadium.
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From the pitching standpoint, I'm sure the Rangers would ask for Shelby Miller, thought I'm not necessarily saying that they would or that they should be able to land him for Andrus. Miller is a Dallas area native who would be a draw with Texas. But it's difficult to give up a potential future ace -- unless the Cardinals think Miller's shaky 2012 minor league season was no fluke.
Otherwise, the Cardinals could dangle Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly or Lance Lynn who has seemingly irritated the St. Louis leadership with his sour attitude about being pulled from the starting rotation.
Andrus is under contract for the next two seasons at $4.8 million in 2013 and $6.475 million in 2014, figures that average less than Rafael Furcal is making in his current Cardinals contract.
And what to do with Furcal?
Well, first of all, he's resisting having surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament. Tommy John surgery is likely to put a position player out for 6-8 months. So if he doesn't get on the stick and get things taken care of soon, he stands to miss most of the 2013 campaign.
If, by some miracle, a non-surgical solution works, Furcal could be switched to second base in 2013 to protect his arm and buy the Cardinals one last season of seat filling before Kolten Wong arrives in 2014.
This looks like a pretty interesting line-up to me:
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