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David Freese trade rumors would leave the Cardinals' infield awfully thin

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David Freese might not have a starting role in 2014, but who would take his backup role if he joined the Yankees?

Elsa

This is, thankfully, as close as the baseball gods have required us to stand next to Alex Rodriguez, Major League Baseball, and history’s least sympathetic legal battle: David Freese trade rumors. The New York Yankees might need a third baseman, and the St. Louis Cardinals might have one too many; it makes sense.

It’s also probably not a solution to the Cardinals’ own problems; the Yankees’ shortstop problem is basically as fraught as the Cardinals‘, since both teams have to worry about an infamous postseason hero who might be no better than replacement level at this point in his career. David Freese The Shortstop isn’t a terrible goal to shoot for in 2014, especially if they’re at all fond of Greg Garcia, but the Yankees don’t have him; in fact, they happen to be talking to Brendan Ryan The Shortstop, according to an equally current rumor. Eduardo Nunez is the Yankees’ token young shortstop, an offense-first prospect whose awful defense has been paired, in the bigs, with an OPS+ of 87.

David Freese isn’t crucial to the Cardinals’ plans in 2014, but I’m not sure he’s totally surplus to them, either. Without him the rest of the infield begins to look nearly as thin as shortstop; with him the Cardinals can ease Kolten Wong into a larger role and Daniel Descalso into a smaller one. Trading him might hinge on where the Cardinals are most comfortable with Matt Carpenter; it’s hard to justify jerking him around in-season after the kind of year he had in 2013.