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Braves trade rumors: Could Erick Aybar be an injury replacement for the Cardinals?

Erick Aybar has yet to play a regular season game for the Braves. However, thanks to a stunning injury development for the St. Louis Cardinals, Aybar could potentially keep the number of games played for the Braves at "0" thanks to a potential trade.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Back during Hot Stove season when the Braves were furiously adding to their farm and simultaneously stripping down their major league team, it looked like the entire major league squad was on the trading block. That included newly acquired players like Ender Inciarte, who attracted major interest from teams like the Cubs, and this was before Inciarte even threw on a Braves uniform. The Braves are more-than-likely not going to be major contenders for a Postseason bid in 2016, and the focus is clearly on developing and evaluating talent for the future, so the team figures to be in selling mode all season.

Erick Aybar is one of the players who could be used as a trade chip, and thanks to an unfortunate injury situation in St. Louis, Aybar could potentially be heading to the land of the Gateway Arch. Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta is set to miss two-to-three months due to torn ligaments in his left hand, and when you consider the fact that the Cardinals are probably going to be in a major dogfight with the Cubs and/or Pirates in the NL Central this season, they need every win that they can get, and missing one of their best hitters will be huge for them.

As such, the Cardinals are probably going to be in the market for a shortstop, and Mike Axisa of CBS Sports came up with six potential replacements for Peralta. The guy at the top of Axisa's list is Atlanta's Erick Aybar.

Aybar is the obvious trade candidate. The Braves are rebuilding and have no need for a veteran shortstop making decent money -- Aybar is owed $8.5 million in 2016 -- so I'm sure they'd trade Aybar in a heartbeat.

From the Braves' point of view, it's pretty simple: If the Cardinals are in any way willing to part with a quality prospect or two in exchange for Aybar, then the Braves should step up and be wholly willing trade partners. The Braves have two quality prospects at shortstop in the form of Dansby Swanson and Ozhaino Albies, and it's only a matter of time before one of those two guys makes it to the big leagues and takes on the role of shortstop for a hopeful long-term bid. Erick Aybar, on the other hand, is probably not in the team's long term plans, so if they can get anything of value for him before he leaves, then it'll be a win in the long run for the Braves.

Meanwhile, the question that Axisa posed in the article is whether or not it'd be worth it for the Cardinals to give up a prospect or two for a player who would essentially be a short-term rental. Granted, St. Louis' options at shortstop with Peralta on the disabled list are not that attractive -- when your options at shortstop range from the replacement level Jedd Gyorko (who is also better at second base, to boot) to a minor leaguer with extremely limited experience at the AAA level, then things are not looking good for you. As such, the Cardinals have actually indicated that they may look towards options "outside of the organization."

If the Cardinals don't like what they see from Gyorko, Greg Garcia, or Aledmys Diaz (the aforementioned minor leaguer) during camp, then they'll probably hop on the phone and start trying to do a deal. If they do that, then Atlanta would have to be one of the teams that the Cardinals call. If the Cardinals are willing to pay a decent price, then the Braves really should have no qualms about giving up Erick Aybar. I wouldn't be shocked if we hear further rumors in the near future about John Coppolella and company potentially pulling off another shrewd move in an effort to make sure that the future continues to stay bright for the Braves.

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