This morning’s news that St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright might need Tommy John surgery is a crushing blow for the Cardinals, and it may have even more far reaching consequences.Shortly after news of Wainwright’s injury emerged, John Harper of the New York Daily News wondered whether this injury could lead the New York Yankees to acquire the Cardinals’ co-ace, Chris Carpenter, later this summer.
At first glance, it’s hard to see why the two are related. But Harper might actually be on to something. Without Wainwright, who won 20 games last year, the Cardinals will have a very difficult time staying in the playoff race.
They also still need to find a way to re-sign Albert Pujols, and so far, the Cardinals have been unwilling or unable to meet Pujols’ contract demands. Many have suggested that the Cardinals can’t fit Pujols into their budget partly because they have so much money tied up in other players.
Enter Carpenter. He’s scheduled to make $15 million this year and then St. Louis has a team option for $15 million in 2012. If the Cardinals need to save money to keep Pujols, they could do so by declining Carpenter’s option. Instead of doing that and losing him for nothing as a free agent, St. Louis would be wise to look at the trade market.
With Wainwright already hurt, St. Louis might start thinking about this sooner than later, and may have motivation to make a deal by the July trade deadline.
We all know about the Yankees’ pitching woes, so they would undoubtedly be interested in acquiring Carpenter. New York could offer up top catching prospect Jesus Montero and some other young arms, and St. Louis might be compelled to make a deal.
St. Louis would end up with more money to invest in Pujols, plus some good prospects, while the Yankees would have the ace pitcher that escaped them this offseason.
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