The Cardinals are officially looking for help in the starting rotation according to an ESPN report this morning.
High on the list is Orioles starter Kevin Milwood who is 0-7 this season with a 4.64 ERA. Milwood scares me for several reasons. First, that big fat zero in the win column is troublesome. While it's true that wins and losses are often beyond the hurler's control, why should we think he'd succeed here where the Cardinals can't score enough runs to get a win for Chris Carpenter when he pitches seven shut out innings? Also, Milwoods been hit hard and often lately. In EACH of his last two starts he was pounded for six earned runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Finally, he's given up 16 homers so far this season -- that's good enough to lead the major leagues.
Cliff Lee, who is wasting his time these days in Seattle, has done a lot better job at keeping runners off the bases. Media outlets in New York say it is only a matter of time until the lefty ace is swapped to the Yankees. But the Bronx Bombers have been unusually tight-fisted this season and seem reluctant to give up major trade pieces for a half-season rental when they could just sign Lee for next season as a free agent. If New York opts out of the bidding, Lee could fall to the Birds for a couple of low minors prospects -- IF the Birds are willing to pick up the remainder of his paycheck. And that's something they can afford to do.
Roy Oswalt seems to be getting more peeved by the minute to still be an Astro. But Houston seems likely to hang onto him at least until the off-season when they could try to engineer a blockbuster designed to replentish their rebuilding roster. Some doubt that the Astros would trade Oswalt to the division rival Cardinals. But I don't know about that. If I was St. Louis GM John Mozeliak, I would be more concerned about watching future Cardinals wear Houston duds for the next decade or so than the Astros should be about watching Oswalt play in St. Louis for a year and a half.
Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski said he thinks Mark Buehrle will end up in a Cardinals uniform sooner or later. He may be right. Buehrle has often said he wants to pitch for the Redbirds someday because they're the St. Charles native's home town team. But I would bet on the later rather than the sooner. Buehrle makes $14 million this season and next. And if he's traded, his pay is upped to $15 million this season and next PLUS an option for $15 million in 2012 automatically vests. I don't think the Cardinals are going to pay anywhere near that sort of money for a starting pitcher as long as Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse are on the roster.
Royals hurler Brian Bannister is rumored to be on the trade block. He's sporting a 6-3 record with a 4.50 ERA for a lousy team and he's very budget friendly at $2.3 million -- not to mention that he is arbirtration eligble after the season, so there's a reasonable chance he could be kept around in 2011. Bannister has won his last five decisions in a row for Kansas City.
Former Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan, recently released by the Brewers, has been given some consideration by manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan. But Suppan's been hit hard the least three seasons and some think he may be spent. The Cardinals reportedly don't have interest in John Smoltz, Braden Looper or other inactive pitchers.