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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Strauss: Cards interest in Cabrera 'real'

Strauss: Cards interest in Cabrera 'real'

In today's chat with hundreds of readers, Post-Dispatch baseball writer Joe Strauss addressed the Cardinals' shortstop situation in the wake of Rafael Furcal's late-season physical breakdown.
Strauss' bottom line? The Cardinals have "real" interest in pursuing Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera if the Indians, as rumored, shop him this winter. Cabrera, who turns 27 next week, batted .270 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 2012; he hammered 25 homers with 92 RBIs in 2011.
Fans also are making a lot of noise about Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki, but Strauss said he would be "surprised" if the Cardinals were willing to take on such a hefty financial obligation. Strauss also downplayed Cardinals interest in Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus, saying only that he expected both teams' general managers to discuss the player's availability.
As for Stephen Drew ... the 29-year-old free agent would be a short-term fit at best.
Below is Strauss' insight into the Cardinals' shortstop situation, followed by a bonus reply on the prospect of Rick Ankiel returning as a pitcher — a possibility Strauss raised in last week's chat.
Or you can read today's entire Joe Strauss Live Q-&-A here.
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QUESTION: With Asdrubal Cabrera apparently on the trade block, what is the likelihood of the Cards inquiring about his availability? Do you think guys like Lance Lynn and Matt Adams could serve as the pillars of a deal with the Indians? Do you think 'Mo' would trade from our RH pitching strength to find a long-term solution at SS?
Follow-up question: Joe, what odds do you have on one or two of these four pitchers being in a different organization come spring training: Kelly, Lynn, Rosenthal, Miller?
STRAUSS: I do believe the Cardinals' interest in Asdrubal Cabrera real. With such a flimsy free agent market for shortstops, a number of teams are intrigued by Cabrera if the Indians are indeed willing to shop him.
To compete for Cabrera, the Cardinals would have to part with multiple prospects. One of the names you mention would certainly be introduced into talks by the Tribe. The Cardinals' willingness to part with a current or future member of their starting rotation would then be tested.
This much is known: the club will not expose itself at shortstop to the same degree as it did this year. Whether or not Rafael Furcal requires surgery, he will not be viewed as a 145-game player in 2013. The team requires at least depth at the position. With Furcal's contract set to expire after next season, GM John Mozeliak can't ignore landing a potential long-term answer via trade.
Should that not pan out, a short-term fix becomes more palatable. My information is that Mozeliak does not envision Pete Kozma as a starting option. He projects as a utility middle infielder.
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QUESTION: Do you think Tulowitzki would be a good fit? Would, say, Matt Adams and Skip Schumaker "start" some good discussions with the Rockies? I'm totally intrigued by the thought of 'Tulo' in a Cardinals uniform if he becomes available, just not sure the money he is due would be wise.
STRAUSS: Healthy, Tulowitzki is one of the game's 10 best players, maybe five best. I'd be surprised, however, if the Cardinals were willing to assume that kind of financial obligation at this time. Tulowitzki has become an injury risk even before reaching a six-year, $118 million extension set to begin in 2015. He is scheduled to make $20M in each of the first five seasons.
That's significant money when taking into account that Matt Holliday makes $17M two of those years and Adam Wainwright will receive close to $20M per annum if he forgoes free agency.
* * *
QUESTION: Stephen Drew had a very serious ankle injury. Is he capable of fielding the SS position to major league standards?
STRAUSS: Fair point. His performance the last two seasons has been wanting. However, his need to rehabilitate his value could make him a short-term fit for a team such as the Cardinals, if they fail to acquire a long-term answer.
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QUESTION: Do you think the Cardinals will make calls to see if Elvis Andrus from the Rangers really is available, as has been rumored?
STRAUSS: (This week's) GM meetings serve as foundation for what happens between now and December's Winter Meetings. I'd expect 'Mo' to have a discussion with (Rangers GM) Jon Daniels, if not already. Again, I believe it more likely that the Cardinals seek a short-term fix at the position this winter, unless Furcal's elbow is ruled a no-go for next season.
* * *
Question: Have any execs or scouts told you they're interested to see Rick Ankiel pitching again?
STRAUSS: Scott Boras told Yahoo Sports his client is not interested in pitching at this time. Boras insisted Ankiel still perceives himself as a position player.
The question remains, however, what Ankiel does if unable to land a major-league contract as an OF. That's a real possibility.

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