Here is a list of some of the bigger name fre agent pitchers available this off season copied from Fan Graphs http://tinyurl.com/6l7wk8
CC Sabathia, 2.98 FIP, 4.05 WPA/LI
Ben Sheets, 3.20 FIP, 2.18 WPA/LI
Derek Lowe, 3.33 FIP, 2.33, WPA/LI
Ryan Dempster, 3.38 FIP, 2.91, WPA/LI
Mike Mussina, 3.44 FIP, 1.62 WPA/LI
AJ Burnett, 3.65 FIP, 0.00 WPA/LI (can opt out of current contract)
Andy Pettitte, 3.78 FIP, 0.99 WPA/LI
Randy Johnson, 3.83 FIP, 0.23 WPA/LI
Kyle Lohse, 3.90 FIP, 1.54 WPA/LI
Greg Maddux, 4.03 FIP, 0.70 WPA/LI
Jamie Moyer, 4.29 FIP, 0.63 WPA/LI
Randy Wolf, 4.32 FIP, -0.43 WPA/LI
Oliver Perez, 4.74 FIP, 0.37 WPA/LI
Braden Looper, 4.89 FIP, -0.44 WPA/LI
Jon Garland, 4.91 FIP, -0.72, WPA/LI
Pedro Martinez, 5.40 FIP, -0.62 WPA/LI
When I survey the Cardials pitching situation for 2009 I see a solid core in Wainwright, Carpenter, and Wellemeyer. The Cardinals also have a couple of youngsters that could serve well in the rotation. But, factoring in injury potential and youngster inconsistency and durability issues, I'd say the Cardinals would do well to get at least two FA pitchers, even with Pineiro as rotation spot filler insurance.
From the list above I think we would agree that Sabathia and Sheets are the top free agents. We'd also probably agree that they are out of the Cardinals' price range. Dempster has impressed me this season with a dominating and consistent effort. But I doubt the Cardinals will be able to get him either. Most of the others I don't see as providing much value. But I do think Lowe would be a great fit for the Cardinals. His durability and his ground ball-ness are exactly what the Cardinals need. And if the price was right I'd also like to see them go after Randy Johnson or Pedro. They would be tremendous 4th or 5th starters and it would be great to have HOF caliber former Cy Young winners as part of the team. All three of those guys, (assuming short contracts for the oldies) would be worth whatever it would take to get them. They have been healthy of late and as 5th starters their risk would be minimized. And with Looper, Loshe, Mulder, Clement, and Isringhausen off the books we could easily afford them. How about this for a rotation (I made it six deep to account for the fragility take off one of the last two if you think it is too much):
Or better yet, trade Pineiro.
Which two or three from that list would you pursue if you were the Cardinals? The rules for this discussion are - be reasonable and conscientious of the Cardinals budget, and no talk of minor leaguers in the opening day rotation (I know there are reasonable arguments for those guys but save those for other fanposts). Also, what do you think it would take to sign the guys you like. For my three I'd guess 14 or 15 for Lowe, and 8 - 10 each for Pedro and Randy. Pricy for oldies, but with guys like that I don't think the cost matters as much because of marketing and merchandise gains.