The Yankees are preparing for 2014 as though they will have Alex Rodriguez on the roster, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t making other plans at third base.

According to a source, the Yankees have discussed a potential trade for Cardinals third baseman David Freese. It’s unclear what St. Louis would want back for the 2011 World Series MVP, but given his down year in 2013 – he hit .262/.340/.381 in 138 games – and injury history, it might not be much.

The Cardinals are hoping to move Matt Carpenter from second base to third, opening a spot at second for top prospect Kolten Wong. Moving Freese would allow them to do that, while also giving the Yankees an insurance policy for A-Rod if his suspension is upheld.

Yankees team president Randy Levine said Wednesday that the team is operating under the assumption that A-Rod will be with them for all of next season, though even if that’s the case, he figures to need plenty of at-bats as the designated hitter, opening the door for Freese to play third base.

“We are under the impression that he’s going to come back,” Levine said of A-Rod. “That’s the way we’ve budgeted it. That’s the way we think. We have no control over that and we’ve never had any control. That process is going on and it will be over with by the end of the year. That’s what I’m told.”

The Yankees have flirted with trading for Freese before. They nearly had a deal in place to acquire him from the Padres for Kei Igawa after the 2007 season, but George Steinbrenner didn’t want to eat the majority of Igawa’s contract, which had four years and $16 million left on it.