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Source: Cardinals explore Carlos Gomez as trade option

CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Cardinals are exploring the possibility of trading for Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez after Matt Holliday broke his thumb when he was hit by a pitch in Thursday night's game, a major league source confirmed to ESPN.

Gomez and Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur both cleared waivers and are available, according to a source. But Gomez apparently already has suitors. The New York Mets are believed to be among them, in addition to the Cardinals.

The Astros have until Thursday to complete a trade or Gomez becomes a free agent, but it's believed within the industry that he will be traded by then. The St. Louis Post Dispatch was first to report the Cardinals' interest in Gomez.

The Cardinals are intrigued because Gomez can play center field, is just 30 years old and drew MVP votes as recently as 2014.

But Gomez's production fell off a cliff this season. He is batting .212 with a .594 OPS, but his skill set and high-energy style could be a fit on the Cardinals, who otherwise would go with young outfielders Randal Grichuk and Tommy Pham to replace Holliday's production.

The Cardinals and Astros have a strained relationship because of an ongoing MLB investigation into a former Cardinals employee hacking into the Astros' databases. But the relationship is not so strained that it would preclude talks of this kind, the source said.