Cardinals Interested In Harrell, Norris

In addition to "asking about" available shortstops, the Cardinals are "interested in Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris of [the] Astros," reports MLB Network's Peter Gammons (on Twitter). While the Cards' interest in help up the middle is unsurprising (in spite of GM John Mozeliak's recent statements), St. Louis was not expected to be in on starting pitching.  

As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith detailed at the start of the offseason, the Cardinals already "feature[] an effective starting rotation with a combination of established veterans and powerful young arms."  And as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently explained, the team was thought at this point to be narrowing its choice between Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller for the team's fifth starter spot.  Of course, the Cardinals have already allowed Kyle Lohse to test the free agent waters for quite some time after the veteran turned down his qualifying offer.

Meanwhile, Harrell and Norris (both righties) are coming off of solid, if unspectacular, 2012 campaigns.  Harrell, 27, threw 193 2/3 innings of 3.76 ERA baseball in his first full big league season.  Norris, in turn, is entering his age 28 season after posting a 4.65 ERA over 168 1/3 innings last year, and features a longer history of performance at the highest level.  Certainly, St. Louis is well-positioned to add either pitcher if it so chooses, as it possesses the kind of farm depth that would appeal to an Astros team that has been aggressively cutting payroll and adding young, unproven talent.

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