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Winter Meetings Buzz: Sean Burnett and Asdrubal Cabrera?

According to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, the Cards are interested in signing free agent lefty reliever Sean Burnett. Burnett pitched for the Nationals in 2012, going 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA and 31 holds in 70 appearances. Burnett averaged less than an inning per appearance, hurling just 56 2/3 innings over those 70 games. Washington did not use Burnett as solely a situational left-hander, but Burnett did pitch significantly better against lefties, holding them to a .211 batting average against over 90 at-bats.  Burnett wasn’t as effective against righties, allowing a .298 batting average against, .347 OBP, and .420 slugging percentage. With Marc Rzepczynski’s 2012 struggles, Sam Freeman’s injury, and Brian Fuentes’ retirement, Burnett would certainly fill the lefty specialist role on the Cards roster. The move is looking like more than just a rumor, with multiple ESPN baseball writers reporting that a deal for Burnett is logical and highly probable.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s and SiriusXM’s Jim Bowden says that a trade for Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is “very possible and a good fit for both clubs.” According to Bowden, Cleveland is interested in Cards prospects Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, and Pete Kozma. As far as Rafael Furcal’s return goes, Bowden thinks that the Cards will be able to trade Furcal if they acquired Cabrera. The 27-year-old switch-hitting shortstop was an All Star for the Indians in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, Cabrera hit .270 with a .338 OBP, 16 homers, 68 RBIs, and 150 hits over 143 games while committing the least errors for a shortstop in the majors. Cabrera also won a silver slugger award in 2011, establishing himself as one of the premier two-way shortstops in the majors. Cabrera has two years remaining on his contract at $6,500,000 in 2013 and $10,000,000 in 2014, which is pretty affordable considering his all-around skill set and young age. The fact is that even if the 35-year-old Furcal were to return as the Cards’ 2013 shortstop, his days are numbered and his production will most likely continue to decline. The Indians would demand a large haul of prospects, but the Cards will rarely have another opportunity to acquire a two-way shortstop that is also young and relatively affordable. The Cards have minor league pitching depth outside of Miller, and would be acquiring a top player at arguably the second-most important position in the game without surrendering top prospects Kolten Wong or Oscar Taveras. Get it done, John Mozeliak.

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