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Royals trade rumors: Cardinals ‘have kept tabs’ on Lorenzo Cain

Kansas City is willing to get creative this winter, and could deal Cain before he hits free agency next offseason.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Cardinals have “kept tabs on” Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain, according to a report from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Kansas City is reportedly open to multiple different options at the Winter Meetings, including trading key assets.

St. Louis is prioritizing center field help after signing reliever Brett Cecil to a 4-year, $30.5 million deal last month, and has also been linked to free agent Dexter Fowler. Fowler’s market has yet to fully develop, but the Cards appear to be one of the early favorites as a great fit.

Cain, 30, is a free agent after the season, joining Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas as key Royals slated to hit the open market. He slashed .287/.339/.408 with nine homers for Kansas City last season, and will draw strong interest on the trade market if made available.

Any talks involving the Cardinals will likely involve top prospects Alex Reyes, though it is unlikely St. Louis would move their top pitching prospect in a deal for a one-year rental player like Cain. A move for a free agent like Fowler may be more likely.