According to MLBTraderumors.com, the Cardinals are intensifying their search for a 3B. Apparently Brandon Inge is on their radar. I'm wondering if Beane is (or if he should be) talking to the Cards about Kevin Kouzmanoff. Let's explore this possibility...
According to Fangraphs.com, Kouzmanoff's WAR is 2.1 (so figure 2.5ish at the end of the season) which is pretty average. His fielding is as good as his hitting is bad. When you add it up together, he's pretty average in the American League. Inge on the other hand has a WAR of 1.3 in about 90 or so less ABs. This season, Kouzmanoff is definitely better.
Kouzmanoff's salary this year is $3.1 million, while Inge's is $6.6 million. Inge is a free agent after this season, while Kouzmanoff is eligible for arbitration. Here again, Kouzmanoff is more attractive. If the Cards acquire him and he plays poorly, they could non-tender him. And he costs less this year than Inge. If he plays average or better, they could still have him for a few more years.
So let's assume that the Cards and the A's are talking. We have no evidence (at least I haven't seen any) that suggests the two sides are talking, but now that the A's are really out of it, it's something Beane should be looking at.
I propose a Kevin Kouzmanoff for Allen Craig trade.
In November 2009 Baseball America ranked Craig the Cards's 7th best prospect. His minor league numbers are pretty awesome. In AAA this year in 321 ABs he had an OPS of .948, Last year in 521 ABs his AAA OPS was .921 and he hit 26 HRs. Clearly the guy can hit. But his talent still hasn't turned into good MLB production as his numbers in the bigs this year have been pretty poor.
His baseball card says he's a 1B/3B/OF. If he can play adequate defense at any of those positions (3rd being the biggest hope!!), I think he could be a valuable piece of Oakland's rebuilding puzzle.
The first question is, would he be available? I think so. First, Craig is 26 years old, so he's almost out of the "prospect" range. Second, Kouzmanoff is a league average player who could be even better if he moves back to the NL. Obviously, if the A's think Craig can play 3B they can afford to trade Kouzmanoff. Third, the Cards are in a very tight race and may be more flexible in who they are willing to trade.
The second question is, would Kouzmanoff get through waivers? Smarter people will have to answer that for me.
So let's do it, Billy... Allen Craig for Kevin Kouzmanoff.