Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that Brian Barton is one player that may not switch teams prior to the regular season. Barton was selected by the Cardinals with the 10th pick of the Rule 5 draft from the Indians. The Cardinals are said to be deciding between keeping Barton or 2-time MVP Juan Gonzalez who is battling an abdominal injury.
"When you have a (Rule 5) guy, if there's a way that guy can fit on your ballclub, you try to figure a way if you see a legitimate major-league future," La Russa said.
While Gonzalez' spring numbers are solid (.308-1-5), Barton has also played well (.350) and offers the team more position flexibility as Gonzalez has been used primarily as a DH in the spring.
Barton must be offered back to the Indians for $25K or be kept on the 25-man roster all season. The Cardinals could try to work out a trade with the Indians that would allow them to option Barton to the minors, but Strauss says this path is unlikely considering how well Barton is playing.
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