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St. Louis Cardinals trade rumors: A look at the contracts of some of the Cards' potential pitcher trade targets

A breakdown of the contracts belonging to some of the Cardinals' potential trade targets.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB non-waiver trade deadline falls this Thursday at 3:00 p.m. CT. The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly prioritizing a starter as the deadline nears. The market is beginning to take shape:

  • The Giants saved the Cardinals from acquiring Jake Peavy by trading for the righty.
  • The Red Sox are reportedly open for business and ready to sell Jon Lester or John Lackey, if the price is right.
  • The Phillies have allegedly begun making outrageous trade demands for Cole Hamelsper Jayson Stark. One of the nine teams to which Hamels cannot block a trade with his no-trade clause? The Cardinals.
  • Jon Morosi tweets that the Cardinals had a scout at the Mets-Phillies game in which Bartolo Colon and A.J. Burnett squared off.
  • If you aren't reading Stark's trade deadline coverage, you should be. He also shares scouts' takes on Cliff Lee's unimpressive return from the DL. Stark passes along that Lee won't be moved until August at the earliest, if even then.
Given the shifting contours of the trade gossip terrain, I thought it might do us some good to review how old some of the Cardinals' potential trade targets are and how much guaranteed money each pitcher has owed him over the weeks and years (as the case may be) to come. I put together the following chart using the contract information available at the indispensable Cot's Baseball Contracts. I have included only guaranteed money, so only buyouts are shown for option years. We'll discuss options below.


If you didn't think Ruben Amaro was rather dumb and consequently bad at his job before reading this post, I ask you to fully absorb the option-year buyouts he has negotiated for the Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Burnett contracts.

  • Lee has a $27.5 million club option for 2016, his age 37 season, with a $12.5 million buyout.
  • Hamels has a $20 million club option for 2019 with a $6 million buyout.
  • Burnett's option is perhaps the strangest. There is a $15 million mutual option, but also a $7.5 million player option. The buyout is $1 million.

The trio of Phillies pitchers are each owed a fair chunk of change. This is exacerbated by the pricy buyouts the Philadelphia front office agreed to in the contracts. Coupled with the front office's current demands and one wonders whether any of the Phillies pitchers will be moved by the end of business on Thursday.

The Cardinals will keep player salary in mind when deciding whether or not to make a trade this week. So keep this chart in mind when the trade gossip really starts to pick up in the days to come.