I was thinking about possible prospects we could deal for the other day, and two names that came to mind were Neil Walker from the Pirates and Brent Lillbridge from Atlanta.
Here is the breakdown:
3B Neil Walker b. 9/10/85 (@ Altoona AA)
431 AB, .288 AVG, .362 OBP, .462 SLG, 46 XBH, 53/74 BB/K ratio.
This was Walker's first season as a 3B -- he was drafted as a catcher in the first rd. of the 04 draft by the Pirates. The Pirates discovered a fairly adequate 3B in Jose Bautista this year, which I assume could make Walker movable. The Pirates might be interested in Bryan Anderson (their current catcher, Ronny Paulino isn't too shabby, though).
SS Brent Lillibridge b. 9/18/83 (@ AAA Richmond)
321 AB, .287 AVG, .331 OPS, .436 SLG, 26 XBH, 20/59 BB/K ratio, and 28/5 SB/CS ratio.
Brent was drafted in the 4th rd. by the Pirates in 05, and was subsequently traded with Mike Gonzalez to the Braves for Adam LaRoche. Lillibridge's range would fit perfectly with the Cardinals philosophies, and he would be the top of the order type of hitter that the Cardinals really need -- He had 42 SB last year between AA and AAA. Lillibridge is kind of lost in the shuffle with Yunel Escobar, and I suppose he could be expendable by the Braves. The problem is, I don't see any big holes on the Braves' side that we could fill. They have an abundance of outfield prospects like Brandon Jones, Jordan Schafer, Gorkys Hernandez and Jason Haywerd to go with Francoeur. I would imagine that we would have an easier time trying to acquire one of these guys if we ended up trading Chris Duncan. I really can't see any way to acquire Lillibridge because of the depth that the Braves have at every position.
So my questions to you are: What position is more important to fill -- shortstop or third base? I'm not sold on Brendan Ryan being a starter in our lineup, and if I were Tony, I would have Hoffpauir penciled in at second base on opening day. I assume that Eckstein will be gone (I don't know all the logistics of his plans), and Rolen will be gone to the Twins for some kind of pitching prospect. Uhh, guys, that means our infield will look like this on opening day: Pujols/Hoffpauir/Ryan/Barden or Spiezio. That's.. not good.