(BaseballStL) – After a few false starts and exciting rumors, the first major deal of Baseball’s offseason is done. Texas and Detroit have swapped Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler in a move that was reportedly as much a surprise to the players involved as it was to fans.
The ripple effect from the trade is still being felt, and St. Louis fans and pundits have begun to examine how the deal changes the Cardinals’ chances of landing one of Texas’ two young shortstops.
As the Redbirds look to address their concerns at short, several names have been tossed around; the most exciting of which were Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, both of the Rangers.
Andrus, 25, is a capable defender and a strong bat- hitting .274 in his short career with 18 homers and 165 stolen bases. Profar is the next big thing in Texas; a prized prospect that many expected to be a big trade piece or inherit shortstop after Andrus is moved.
With Kinsler shipped to Detroit, the most commonly agreed-upon prediction is the Rangers moving Profar to second to get the young star on the field. This, presumably, would kill any deals to pick up him or Andrus- as they both now have a spot in the lineup.
The door may not be fully closed, however. The Rangers still have money to spend, and with rumors swirling they may pursue Robinson Cano, the story is still far from written.
For what it’s worth, baseball insider Ken Rosenthal tweeted early Thursday morning a source told him the Rangers were still open to dealing their young infielders for the right deal.
What that deal looks like is still unknown, but it certainly centers on pitching. The Rangers need it, and their interest in Tampa Bay’s David Price indicates they are willing to spend for it.
With St. Louis holding a fistful of extremely cheap, extremely talented young arms, they aren’t exactly shut out of a deal for the Rangers’ two best trading chips.
The Fielder/Kinsler deal definitely vaults the price up for Andrus, since the logjam in their middle infield has been loosened, but it doesn’t put him out of reach.
Fielder brings with him a monster contract that runs for seven more years. By acquiring him, the Rangers drastically increased their future spending commitments starting in 2016 and peaking in 2020.
Moving Andrus and his $120 million extension that begins in 2015 would certainly help alleviate that hit.
If the Cano rumors materialize into a real deal, both Profar and Andrus would seemingly be on the block once more; the former to acquire pitching for the new juggernaut squad and the latter to clear salary.
The Cardinals could have scratched Texas off the list of potential trading partners for all I know. They may have had far more complex plans in the works that were effectively dashed by the deal. On the surface, however, the Rangers are still a very real possibility.