There are reports, backed up by Mark Feinsand, that the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals are in discussions over third baseman David Freese. With Alex Rodriguez facing suspension, possibly for the entire 2014 season, the Yankees need to fill the void at third base. Even if Rodriguez beats his suspension the Yankees will still have to find someone capable of playing a fair amount of games as Rodriguez with his two hip surgeries will need to DH quite a bit.
Freese is coming off of a down year that saw him hit .262/.340/.381 with nine home runs, 60 RBI and 53 runs scored. After his 2012 season that saw him hit .293/.372/.467 with 20 home runs, 79 RBI and 70 runs scored, Freese was expected to become a major part of the Cardinals offense. Instead, he struggled all season long.
Freese will turn 31 in April and is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2015 season so he would be under team control for a couple more seasons and wouldn’t be as expensive as some of the free agent options on the market right now but through arbitration might be more expensive than some of the older but less desirable third basemen on the market.
The Cardinals can afford to part with Freese because they can shift Matt Carpenter over to third from second and have Kolten Wong take over duties at second.
Freese would be a nice addition for the Yankees depending on what the Yankees have to give up. The asking price is certainly not anywhere near what the San Diego Padres were asking for Chase Headley but Freese won’t be exactly cheap either. There isn’t much in the Yankees’ farm system that really stands out and the Yankees won’t part with Gary Sanchez and probably would like to hold onto Jose Campos, Manny Banuelos, Mason Williams and Tyler Austin. However, perhaps Slade Heathcott would be a starting point with an Adam Warren or David Phelps and another prospect.
The Yankees don’t have many options to fill the hole at third if Rodriguez is suspended for a large chunk of the season. Eric Chavez, Michael Young, Mark Reynolds and Juan Uribe are the best free agents available and none really stand out. Freese would be an upgrade over Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix at the hot corner so it really isn’t surprising that GM Brian Cashman is exploring the trade market. Whether or not a deal can get done is another matter.