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Cardinals trade rumor round-up

The Cardinals are pushing hard for a starting pitcher, according to ESPN. Buster Olney said the Redbirds, in fact, are the most aggressive team beating the bushes for starting rotation help.

It seems the plan is to find a replacement for Kyle McClellan whom the Cardinals would then move back to the bullpen to be the set-up man for Fernando Salas.

But that doesn't mean the Redbirds have given up on the idea of adding bullpeners. According to Fox Sports the Cardinals have been in contact with Toronto about relief help. The fourth place Jays are 9 1/2 games out in the National League East, so they'll likely be sellers. Their relief pitchers, for the most part, don't jump out and grab your attention. But lefty Mark Rzepczynski has a 2.92 ERA with 27 hits allowed and 14 walks in 37 innings. He has 31 strikeouts. Righties include Jason Frasor, Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy, thought to be a potential Cardinals trade target, is officially off the market. The pending free agent inked a three-year contract extension with Baltimore yesterday that will pay him about $8 million a year.

The Cardinals may lower their sights and try to find a cheaper back-up infielder now that it looks like Nick Punto will head back to the disabled list.