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i just have time for a quick post before i go in for a suffocating two-hour meeting:

herr28 left this late last night in the comments thread: "bernie just said on the midwest sports report that marquis would only be traded for more starting pitching and that the cards are working on an extension for him."

did anybody else see/hear this? miklasz usually has good info -- it's probably coming from mozeliak or from walter himself -- so let's just take it at face value. first of all, even if the cards plan to trade jason, it's a wise move to get him down for an extension. if marquis remains free-agent eligible, then as the season wears on he becomes increasingly difficult to move; only another contender would be interested, and since the cards would be loathe to deal him to a potential nl playoff foe, the pool of trade partners would be limited to a few american league teams. but if marquis is already signed through, say, 2008, then rebuilding teams might well be interested. so an extension for marquis doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be wearing a cardinal uniform to fulfill the terms of that deal.

the second piece of this is that the cards want to trade him for more starting pitching. hmmmm. if he's going to be traded for pitching, then i guess he's gonna be part of a package -- ie, walt bundles him with a prospect in exchange for a better starting pitcher. because otherwise why make the deal, right? no point in trading jason straight-up for an equivalent starting pitcher. walter supposedly made a marquis-plus-prospect type of offer during his bid for javy vazquez; what other pitcher might be available on such a basis? not likely contreras; the white sox already have starting pitching to burn. and not likely zito either; the athletics also have a surplus of starters, and they don't particularly like marquis (the cards offered jason to oakland during one iteration of the mulder trade, and beane declined and held out for dan haren). . . . . frankly i'm stumped by this part of bernie's comment. i get it that the cards still want to upgrade the rotation -- they've said it all along since the off-season began, and i think it's the right priority. but i don't see how they can attract the type of pitcher they want using marquis as the bait -- not even as part of a package, and not even if jason's signed to an extension. i mean, is three years of jason marquis so appealing that it's going to induce, say, the giants to give up what may be their final year of jason schmidt? i sure can't see it. toss in six years of chris lambert? sorry, i still think it's unlikely.

thoughts anyone?