ST. LOUIS - Fewer than six weeks remain until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and you know what that means? The rumor season is about to heat up.
Because the Cardinals have a loaded farm system, plenty of financial flexibility and are primed for a pennant run, expect them to be in the middle of a lot of trade speculation. Just remember, distinguishing between fact and fiction can be difficult this time of year, especially when it concerns a team not known for sharing its intentions.
OK, with the disclaimer out of the way, let's address some speculation. One player who already has been linked to the Cardinals by scuttlebutt spreaders is Cliff Lee.
As with most rumors, the Lee talk makes some sense. If you're the Phillies, you see a 35-year-old making a ton of money on a team going nowhere. Because he's an elite starter (9-2, 2.53 ERA) in a market thin in starting pitching, he could bring the Phillies a nice haul.
Lee holds no-trade protection but, according to...