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St. Louis Cardinals trade rumor: Minnesota Twins reportedly interested in outfielder Peter Bourjos

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Okay, it's only kind of a rumor.

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The Minnesota Twins apparently have some interest in acquiring Peter Bourjos from the St. Louis Cardinals, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, a Twin Cities radio station:

This isn't really much of a rumor. It doesn't even hint that the Twins have reached out to the Cardinals about Bourjos to see what it might cost to acquire the center fielder. In a way, it reminds me of the when Buster Olney reported several years back that the Philadelphia Phillies had engaged in internal discussions regarding a trade that would send Ryan Howard to St. Louis in exchange for Albert Pujols. I don't bring up that years-old Olney report to knock Wolfson, just to point out that clubs regularly have internal discussions regarding potential acquisition targets. It's a part of being in a front office, and it's perfectly normal. And I bet some in the Twins front office are interested in acquiring Bourjos. Of course, that doesn't means that the Cardinals are going to trade Bourjos to Minnesota.

The Cardinals will undoubtedly listen to inquiries about the availability of Bourjos, just as John Lester's team listened when St. Louis reportedly reached out regarding the free-agent southpaw. It's due diligence to listen and gain information regarding the market for a player.

In Bourjos, the Cards have perhaps the best defensive center fielder in baseball. In 2014, Bourjos's first with St. Louis, he played 649 1/3 innings in center while batting .231/.294/.348 (287 wOBA, 82 wRC+). The Cardinals also have Jon Jay, who is not the best fielding center fielder in baseball. Jay totaled 749 innings in center field last season while hitting .303/.372/.378 (.336 wOBA, 115 wRC+). Despite Jay's offensive superiority, the job of fielding center field for the Cardinals was a fairly even timeshare.

After the final out of the NLCS, as reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bourjos expressed his desire to play more often than he had during the 2014 season:

The season "was up and down," Bourjos said. "And that kind of went with the playing time, too. Inconsistent playing time, inconsistent results — that’s how it goes sometimes. If there’s an opportunity out there, I’d like to play every day."

During a joint press conference with manager Mike Matheny, general manager John Mozeliak proclaimed Jon Jay the starting center fielder for the 2015 Cardinals. This leaves Bourjos as the fourth outfielder. During the press availability Mozeliak had when announcing Bourjos underwent surgery "to address a hip impingement and repair cartilage damage to the right side of his hip, according to Goold's Post-Dispatch article reporting the news,

Mozeliak added that the club expects Bourjos to be a member of the Cardinals for the coming season. They will offer him a contract before the deadline for players with less than six years of experience and Bourjos was not considered a candidate for non-tendering coming into this offseason.

"Obviously, he's looking for more of those everyday at-bats," Mozeliak said. "Given where we are as an organization, we still see a fit for him, and given what he's been dealing with he has that upside offensively that we feel we still haven't been able to see. From an organization's view, we see many ways for him to contribute."

Mozeliak made this statement on November 7, before the Cardinals traded Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. With Heyward, the best fielding right fielder in the game today, manning one corner every day, Matt Holliday playing left, and Jay the starter in center, it seems unlikely that Bourjos will receive as many innings in the field as he did in 2014. Nonetheless, per Goold in his Chat To Be Named Later on stltoday.com, it is the Cardinals' "intent to keep Bourjos as the righthanded-hitting center field option." The decision to release the righthanded-hitting and center-field-playing Shane Robinson this week rather than offer him salary arbitration would seem to reinforce this plan. So does the tidbit Goold shared in his Chat To Be Named Later, that the Cards "intend to keep Bourjos unless blown away by a trade offer."

The Cardinals will listen to trade proposals regarding Bourjos. After all, the Cards don't know if a team like the Twins—the organization with the top-ranked farm system entering 2014 according to Baseball Prospectus—might make them an offer they can't refuse.