Cheap Seats

Haren's market is heating up

If the Cardinals are really interested in bringing back Danny Haren, they've got some competition.

According to ESPN, the Phillies are interested in the former Cardinals starter, and Arizona seems to be serious about a potential deal. It's scouts have been searching the Philadelphiia farm system for their wish list.

Meanwhile, reports that the Nationals have expressed interest in Haren.

As we have previously discussed on these pages, it's pretty tough to imagine that the Cardinals would want to taken on Haren's contract, which pays him more than $25 million over the next two years and has a buyout for $3 million in 2012 if his $15-million option isn't picked up. And it would appear that the only way the Birds would be able to get Haren back would be if they let Arizona dump his salary on them because the Cardinals don't have a lot of prospects that they are willing -- or could afford -- to trade.

I'd love to see Haren, one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball since 2006, back in Cardinals red. But I just don't see a fit... Unless Arizona somehow wanted to take Kyle Lohse back in trade. And if that happened the deal would probably be blocked while the commissioner ordered Arizona's GM to have a mental fitness exam.

Another rumored St. Louis trade target is the cheaper alternative, Seattle's Cliff Lee. Word is that the Mariners want a "major league ready" hitter as the centerpiece in a swap for the veteran lefty.

I wonder if they would consider Allen Craig, who cracked the major league roster after spring training but then flopped in extremely limited duty, major league ready.

Craig, considered to be the Cardinals best hitting prospect, is batting an impressive .305 with nine homers and 55 homers for Class AAA Memphis. But he hit only .054 in 21 plate appearances for the big league club.