The Cardinals apparently have addressed their question at shortstop by acquiring one of the leagueâ€™s largest enigmas.
Hours after formally agreeing to a one-year deal with free agent reliever Trever Miller, the Cardinals traded for San Diego Padres shortstop Khalil Greene Wednesday night.
The Cardinals have yet to confirm the deal, but Greene is believed to have cost the Cardinals two players, at least one a righthanded reliever.
Greene experienced a production meltdown last season, one year after crashing 27 home runs for the Padres. Greene batted .213 with just 10 home runs while striking out 100 times in 105 games in 2008.
Desperate to reduce payroll, the Padres were believed determined to unload Greene before next weekâ€™s Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The New York Post first reported the deal on its web site Wednesday night.
Greene, 29, is entering his final year before free agency and inherits a position manned by defensively adroit but offensively challenged Cesar Izturis last season.
A career .248 hitter, Greene appeared to lose confidence as a hitter last season, managing only 27 extra-base hits and 35 RBI after producing 74 extra-base hits and 97 RBI in 2007.
Greene is due $6.5 million next season. It is unknown whether the Padres assumed any of his remaining salary in the deal.
Greene would become the Cardinalsâ€™ fourth starting shortstop in six seasons, following Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein and Izturis. A righthanded hitter, Greene missed the final two months of last season with a fractured left hand. Greene suffered the injury when he punched a storage chest July 31.
In recent days the Baltimore Orioles had shown interest in Greene while the Detroit Tigers denied interest in him.
The Cardinals, seeking more offensive punch, are banking on getting the player who defied Petco Parkâ€™s massive dimensions with one of the most prolific seasons by a shortstop in 2007.
Many within the industry believed Greene became obsessed with hitting for power last year and ultimately buried himself. Greene has committed only 28 errors in 371 games the last three seasons.
The switch-hitting Izturis batted .263 with one home run and 24 RBI in 414 at-bats last season, leading the Cardinals with 24 stolen bases in 30 attempts.