Ok, my redbird brothers and sisters. Since its the offseason and we're all beginning to speculate just what moves the team will make to get better next year, I thought I would float an idea that's been brewing in my mind. While many have suggested trading a piece like Colby Rasmus (bad idea), I think the Cardinals have another player who could bring a LOT of value under the right circumstances. I'm referring to The Luggage, Mr. Chris Carpenter.
Now before you dismiss this idea as pure insanity, consider the following facts:
1) The Yankees are desperately trying to obtain a front-line starter this offseason.
2) The only premier free agent is Cliff Lee
3) Beyond Lee, the only starting pitcher getting a lot of attention is Zack Greinke (and he isn't going to NYC)
I'm guessing its more likely than not that Lee will sign with the Yankees. BUT... if they fail to obtain him, they will be undoubtedly looking for trade partners. And this is where the Cardinals fit in. The beauty of this potential deal is that both teams can benefit from this possible trade. Consider...
They need an ace, and Chris Carpenter fits this mold. Carpenter would be a #1 on better than half of the clubs in the Major Leagues (opinion, but I think a reasonable one). His WHIP has been very strong the past two years, he has historically pitched well in playoff situations, and has solid peripherals. Carpenter also has the benefit of two years pitching around 200 innings. At this point, he is a comparatively low risk for injury, and appears to have fully recovered from Tommy John Surgery. Adding Carpenter gives the Yankees a lineup of - Sabathia, Carpenter, Pettitte (likely), Burnett, and Vasquez. Carpenter may not be at the same level as Lee, but he is in the ballpark. Carpenter also has the option year available. The Yankees potentially get Chris for two years ($15M a year). This limits their risk, and gives them some payroll flexibility.
The Cards have holes to fill. They want to upgrade at 2B and SS. They also need to be capable of affording Albert Pujols. And conveniently, the Yankees have several players that meet these needs. Take a look at the Yankees AAA Afilliate, the Scranton Wilkes/Barre team. Eduardo Nunez is a AAA all-star and would provide both offense and defense at that position. They have a third baseman, Chad Tracy, who is old for a prospect, but also has an insane OPS, and could provide security behind David Freese. Justin Snyder is more of a AA player, but has played multiple positions and could provide an option at second base within the next year. They've got a pitcher named Ivan Nova who posted a record of 12-3 last year, and looks poised to break-through next year. And on the big club, they have Phil Hughes - very talented and very affordable. (I also thought about mentioning Joba Chamberlain. Maybe he just needs to get out of the big city and go somewhere he would be more comfortable?).
I have no idea if a deal could be arranged. But it feels like there is an opportunity here. Yes, it is largely contingent on whether the Yankees can pick up Cliff Lee. But if they cannot, I think both clubs could benefit from this deal. What do you folks think?