EM TRACKS THE CARDINALS’ WINTER MEETINGS

The next four days could potentially get pretty crazy at the winter meetings in Nashville.  And whether or not John Mozeliak gets his customary Christmas shopping done this week or not, there will be rumors from the center of the baseball universe, and all that have anything to do with the Cardinals will be listed here.

Already taken into account is yesterday’s revelations about the middle infield.  Check back on this post through Thursday in case anything breaks, and also keep in mind all these update will be posted from @elmaquino as they’re reported.

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Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday

THURSDAY

The Cards have left the building with nothing but Choate in tow.

WEDNESDAY

> The Cards are in on lefty reliever Manny Parra.

> And they’re out on Sean Burnett.

> The Cards pick up Randy Choate, who I’m guessing will be their only Winter Meetings acquisition.

Choate led the Majors in games played this year, allowing only 29 hits.  Lefties hit .158 off him.  Not a bad pickup at all.

UPDATE: Three years, $7.5 mill.

> The Cards are still trying to get somebody to help the middle infield.  Chris Getz, Steve Lombardozi and Alex Gonzalez are on the table.

TUESDAY

> I’m starting to change my mind on Scutaro.  We’re not sure what his agent is asking for, but it’s probably going to be quiet a bit, especially in light of his fantastic playoff performance.  The most cost-effective option may well be just keeping Schumaker.  That’s a discouraging proposal, especially since manager John Mozeliak refuses to use Skip and Descalso properly.

UPDATE: The bidding for Marco has reached something like three years and $24 million. No thank you.

> “A rival evaluator,” whatever that is, says Stephen Drew doesn’t want to be a Yankee since being a Yankee would mean being a backup.  Since we don’t need Furcal playing second base, I’d like him to be off the Cards’ radar.  But since they’ve expressed a willingness to move Furcal to second in order to start Drew at short, he may still be fair game.

> Sean Burnett, the best lefty relief free agent out there, has lowered his demands.

> The Cards are in on Yunel Escobar still.

UPDATE: The Rays got him.

> John Mozeliak says some report about something on this page is incorrect.  You’re welcome.

UPDATE: Mozeliak says the Cards haven’t been as involved in the infield market as much as we’ve been led to believe.  I take this to mean that they did in fact have their hands in every cookie jar, but once it was revealed that they couldn’t afford anything, they got out.  Short version: Rafael Furcal, Pete Kozma, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso will all keep their jobs unless something drastic changes.

> Apparently they are involved.  Buster Olney says it’s a 50/50 shot that Scutaro goes to either the Cards or Giants.

UPDATE: Scutaro to the Giants for three years and $20 million.  Glad the Cards didn’t load themselves down with that ill-advised contract.

> In case you were still holding out hope for Stephen Drew, consider that hope crushed.

> The Dodgers apparently want Skip Schumaker.  This could be a legitimate interest, or this could just be more of the Dodgers stating interest in every biped on earth.

> Yadier Molina‘s brother Bengie Molina has been offered the co-hitting coach’s job.  Cool.

> Cards are out of the Scott Hairston running.

MONDAY

> Scott Hairston has been linked to the Cardinals.  He hit 20 bombs for less than $1.5 million last year for the Mets and is a player that I really like; and the team wants a right-handed power bat for the bench which I’d be fine with them getting provided the middle infield is also addressed.  Hopefully they don’t think of him as a middle infield solution.  He has experience at second base, but that was for only one season.  Eight years ago.

UPDATE: Hairston rejected Detroit’s two-year offer.  If he’s asking for too much, the Cards won’t touch him.

Jaime Garcia is going to play in the World Baseball Classic for Mexico.  Might sound disconcerting given how ugly his season ended this year, but the last reports we got said Jaime would be finished with rehab after November, so I guess we’ll get to see firsthand.

Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran are the only other Cardinals that we know will be in the international tournament, both for Team Puerto Rico.

UPDATE: I guess these guys signed themselves up without any say by the team, although Mozeliak didn’t sound opposed to Garcia playing for Mexico.

> Talks with Adam Wainwright on an extension are slow-going.  I’ve stated my reluctancy towards a long-term deal with him in the past.

> Mozeliak expects the lefty free agents to be gone by Thursday, but they all suck so I hope his opining is irrelevant.

> Also, he’s fielding a lot of questions regarding his young pitchers.

> Surprise surprise, the Marlins are trying to get rid of one of the few Major League-ready players they got in the firesale Toronto trade.  Two teams are in on shortstop Yunel Escobar, one of which is the A’s.  He costs $5 million over the next three years, which is too much already just in a vacuum.  Throw in Rafael Furcal‘s contract and the bad PR Escobar carries with him and I don’t think he’s worth buying.

UPDATE: The A’s are apparently out on Escobar, but are still interested in keeping Cardinals target Stephen Drew and are also Hiroyuki Nakajima.  The constant interest in outside options might indicate that the A’s aren’t too confident about keeping Drew in Oakland.

> Skip Schumaker would like to get out of Dodge if he won’t be used in St. Louis. Sounds like the team is willing to do something drastic like putting Furcal there to ensure that he won’t be at second base for them in 2013.

> The Astros are gonna hold onto Jed Lowrie in spite of many interested parties, one of which may well have been the Cardinals.

> Biggest development of the day comes within a half hour of midnight: Marco Scutaro‘s agent met with the Cards today.  If he becomes the secondbaseman, I resoundingly approve.

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