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Rumor Mill: Cardinals said to be talking mega deal with White Sox

ESPN reports that the Cardinals continue to talk with the Chicago White Sox about a trade deadline deal.

As previously reported, the deal would supposedly include Cardinals no. 2 pitching prospect Carlos Martinez and Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez. But the latest reports say that Joe Kelly and Kolton Wong are also being discussed on the Redbirds side of the deal and the St. Louis also wants Pale Hose pitcher Jake Peavy.

The Cardinals need a number two starter, and Peavy has been that good previously in his career. But the price would be steep in terms of talent and future payroll obligations. And Peavy, who is now 32 years old, hasn't had a season with an earned run average of less than 4.00 since 2009. This year it's 4.28. He's given up 14 homers in 2013 in only 80 innings of work. And, as usual, he has spent time on the disabled list this year.

Ramirez is hitting .283 this season. That's not bad on it's face. But the guy almost never walks (14 times in 429 plate appearances in 2013) so he has an awful .309 on-base percentage. 

Martinez and Wong are top five prospects in the St. Louis system and Kelly, who for some reason hasn't had a real chance to play for the Cardinals on a regular basis, showed how capable he is Saturday with an excellent start against the Braves in Atlanta.

In terms of talent, if I was the Redbirds GM I might be willing to give up Wong and Kelly for Peavy and Ramirez. But I wouldn't include Martinez.

Wong is a lefty hitting second baseman which, despite his great talent, makes him expendable for the Redbirds. Although he has showed am excellent ability to get on base and strong all-around baseball skills, it's pretty tough to argue that the Cardinals need help at his position. Incumbent second sacker Matt Carpenter is getting on base at better than a .400 clip, he's in the batting race picture and he's played a pretty solid second base for being in his first year at a new position.

Kelly, in my book, shows nearly as much potential as Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller. He fought miller tooth and nail for the last spot in the St. Louis rotation in spring training -- and I'm not sure that he lost the battle. Since a rough start during which Kelly cooled his heels for a week and a half at a time in the bullpen as a long man, he's been pretty solid as a spot starter. 

In 28 innings as a starter he's 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA and opposing hitters are batting .218 against him.

The Cardinals just don't seem to be getting enough additional talent in return for giving up three high quality young players. Plus Ramirez makes $9.5 million next season and $10 million in 2015 under his previous contract. Peavy is under contract for $14.5 million in 2014 next season. 

St. Louis can afford to absorb these contracts because they'll be freed from Chris Carpenter and Rafael Furcal's deals that currently occupy the starting pitching and shortstop salary slots. But I just don't feel in my gut that it's a good deal for the Cardinals. Maybe Kelly and Wong for Peavy and reliever Jesse Crain. But I'm not very excited about Ramirez and I'm not very interested in the team giving up Martinez