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Cards ink Garcia, Brewers land K-Rod

The Cardinals are expected to announce today that they have signed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia to the previously rumored four-year, $27.5-million contract, according to

Garcia's deal has a pair of options similar to Adam Wainwright's contract that could keep him in the St. Louis fold for up to six seasons.

The lefty is 23-12 over his career with a 3.06 ERA including a 9-3 mark with a 3.22 ERA in 2011. Garcia has struck out 240 hitters in 296 2/3 career innings while walking 104. He's alowed 280 hits in that span and shows plenty of promise to be a middle to top of the rotation starter for many years... Especially since he has already had Tommy John surgery which often leaves pitchers with stronger and more resilliant arms than they had before they were injured.

In a suprise move, the Brewers have landed closer Francisco Rodriguez in a trade with the Mets.

The move certainly solidifies the Milwaukee bullpen. But it might have been made to block the Cardinals as much as it was made to help the Brew Crew.

Milwaukee already had a pretty good closer in John Axford while the Cardinals have been rumored to be looking for a closer since Ryan Franklin flamed out early in the season.

Most pundits considered Rodriguez to be immovable because of a vesting option that pays him $17.5 million next season if he finishes 55 games this year. About 60 percent of the way through the season, Rodriguez has finished 34 games. So the Brewers will likely use him most of the time as an eighth-inning set-up man.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, rookie Fernando Salas has settled into the closer role lately. The Redbirds have more of a need for starting pitching help, so this move shouldn't hurt their ability to get what they need. But, hopefully, such a bold move made by the team with which the Birds are tied for first place will inspire the Cardinals to make a bold move of their own.