The hot stove is really heating up now.
A day after the Tigers and Rangers swapped major pieces Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder, the Cardinals and Angels may have a deal of their own in the works. While the details are still scarce, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that St. Louis and Los Angeles have discussed a trade that would send third baseman and 2011 playoff hero David Freese to southern California. [tweet https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/403547240708718592 align=center]
After failing to reach the playoffs for several years despite the stellar play of Mike Trout — and because of the underwhelming Albert Pujols — the Angels would make a big splash by acquiring the Cardinals third baseman. Freese began the 2013 season on the disabled list with a back injury and never fully returned to his former glory, putting up a .262 batting average and only nine home runs, well short of his .293/20 marks from 2012.
The Angels may be hoping to fill a hole at third left by utility man Alberto Callaspo, whom they traded to Oakland midway through the season in return for rookie infielder Grant Green. Green put up respectable numbers — .280 average and .336 OBP through 40 games — but even a banged-up Freese would be an upgrade for the Angels.
In return, the Cardinals may be seeking infield help of their own. St. Louis has been without a consistent offensive presence at shortstop since it parted ways with Edgar Renteria in 2004. David Eckstein, Cesar Izturis and Rafael Furcal have all tried to fill that role, but none has stuck around longer than a handful of years. L.A.’s Eric Aybar may be an attractive option for St. Louis — while Aybar is no slugger, he’s put up consistent offensive and defensive numbers over his eight-year career and is also signed through 2016.
If Rosenthal’s sources are right, it’s still unlikely that the Cardinals will deal Freese straight up for a player like Aybar. St. Louis has one of the deepest farm systems in the league, which makes the possibility for add-ons to this potential deal extremely likely.