One of the biggest issues the Cardinals face heading into free agency is the hole at shortstop. For a majority of the season, Rafael Furcal (.264 AVG/.325 OBP/.346 SLG) manned the position until he was lost for the year due to a damaged ligament in his throwing arm. After Furcal went down, the Cards turned to former first round draft pick Pete Kozma. Kozma played well down the stretch (.333/.383/.569) and turned into a folk hero in the NLDS against the Nationals. Problems surfaced in the NLCS as Kozma made several fielding blunders that swung the momentum and series towards the eventual world champion Giants. With Furcal’s injury history and Kozma’s unreliability it makes sense for the Cardinals to look elsewhere for the 2013 starting shortstop.
3 Possible Options
- Stephen Drew Free Agent(.223/.309/.348, 7 HR, 28 RBI): Drew was able to bounce back from a gruesome ankle injury to contribute down the stretch for the AL West Champion Athletics. Before his injury Drew was arguably one of the best shortstops in the MLB. He would provide a stable presence at SS for the cards and would help balance out the Cards lineup since he hits left handed.
- Elvis Andrus Texas Rangers(.286/.389/.378, 3 HR, 62 RBI): Andrus is still under contract but the Rangers would love to trade him. He currently is blocking top prospect Jurickson Profar and he could net the Rangers quite a few prospects. Because of the Rangers’ likely asking price, the Cardinals likely won’t choose to pursue Andrus. To acquire Andrus the Cardinals would likely have to trade either Shelby Miller or Oscar Taveras along with two average prospects. If the Cards were to acquire Andrus he would stabilize the position for many years to come.
- Marco Scutaro Free Agent(.306/.348/.405, 7 HR, 74 RBI): Yes, Scutaro was a second baseman for the Giants, but he has the ability to play shortstop everyday. Like Andrus, this is a very unlikely scenario as Scutaro is likely going to be retained by the Giants. Scutaro’s strong play down the stretch for the Giants as well as his play in the postseason should warrant an offer from the Cards.
Those are just 3 possible options for the Cards, and it will be interesting to see how the Cards decide to fill the SS hole.