Unless they are playing hard to get, it doesn't look like the Rangers are going to be willing to part with shortstop Elvis Andrus in trade.
And, even if they are just trying to drive up the price, my interest goes down quickly when I start to think about the Cardinals parting with one or more of their strong, young pitchers to land him.
The same may go for Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. The tribe is said to be looking for top pitching prospects in return.
As anyone who reads these virtual pages knows, I am not shy about the idea of trading prospects for established talent as long as the players coming to St. Louis are in their prime and controllable for the long term. But I just think that Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez are too good to give up. And teams might as well not even mention slugging outfielder Oscar Taveras. He's going nowhere.
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Andrus or Cabrera might look great in Cardinals red. But I can't stand the thought of those pitchers lighting up someone else's radar gun for the next seven years or so.
Having so many untouchable prospects makes it difficult to trade for help because other teams always are seeking to steal your best young players. If they start at the top of the St. Louis prospect list and work their way down they're probably going to hear "no" too many times to continue before they hit someone who the Birds are willing to let go.
The Cardinals could try to be pro-active, hoping that the players they offer to an opposing GM are appealing. I would imagine a team like Texas, which stands to lose both Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton through free agency, could use a cheap slugger mike Matt Adams. But it's going to take some salesmanship.
With the way things have panned out early this off-season, I think the Birds might be better off trying to sign former Arizona and Oakland shortstop Stephen Drew on a one-year showcase deal with an option for 2014 and possibly beyond.
The Athletics declined Drew's $10 million option for 2013. What if the Cardinals offered him a deal that paid $3 million next year with an $8 million option for 2014 that has a $3 million buyout?
Then Drew is guaranteed $6 million no matter what. But the Cardinals can spread the payout to 2014 when they'd be out from under Rafael Furcal and Carlos Beltran's expensive contracts. If Drew has a great year, he'd get a big raise and hit the market as a 31-year-old re-established player.