Wainwright’s Surgery Could Help Yankees Land Carpenter

chris-carpenterThe Cardinals got bad news today when they found out that their ace, Adam Wainwright, could need Tommy John surgery to repair an injured elbow. If that turns out to be the case he would miss at least the next year and it could end up helping out the Yankees’ pitching woes.

That’s because in a division with last year’s surprise team the Reds and the much improved Milwaukee Brewers, the Cardinals could fall behind early without their ace. If they are out of contention near the trade deadline in July they could make their other top starter available via trade, Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter, 36 in April, is in the final year of his contract and will earn $15 million this season. The Cardinals do hold a club option worth $15 million for 2012, but it is possible they won’t pick that up. With the impending free agency of Albert Pujols they could look to cut costs this season if they aren’t competiting and save some money by not picking up Carpenter’s option.

This is pure speculation at this point based on the idea that the Cardinals would try to save money if they were losing. That isn’t a guarantee though because the Reds and Brewers certainly could suffer some injuries and there are enough bad teams in the league like the Pirates and Astros where the Cardinals could pile up easy wins. But this at least helps make it more likely that the Cards could make Carpenter available.

If that does eventually happen it is hard to say what the cost of trading for Carpenter would be. His salary would scare off a lot of potential buyers so the price wouldn’t be through the roof and the Yankees could probably hold on to the likes of Jesus Montero and Manuel Banuelos easily. They’ll have to cross that bridge when they get to it though.

For the record, this does not open up a possibility for a Pujols trade as both he and Mark Teixeira have both said they would not waive their no trade clauses.

This also effects the Yankees because now there may be another suitor for Kevin Millwood, although that appeared to be over anyway.

This entry was posted in Editorial and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Wainwright’s Surgery Could Help Yankees Land Carpenter

  1. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    This is a very interesting development and your take on it seems very appropriate. No reason for the Cardinals to want to hang on to Carpenter and at his age, couldn't possibly get too much for him though pitching is always in demand. It would make very good sense for the Yanks to pick him up for 1.5 years as there are no viable starters in the 2012 FA class. The ideal stop gap solution.

    Also, the fact that it will probably require the exercise of his option to make the trade go down, which most teams will probably will not seriously consider makes this a very doable deal for the Yanks at a reasonable trade price.

  2. Wesley says:

    While I realize that this was written from a perspective of the possibility this creates with Carpenter’s potential availability, I think there is something equally (if not more) noteworthy to this news. Something that hasn’t been mentioned, and I think definitely warrants some considering, is the fact that Wainwright’s contract includes both a 2012 & 2013 option ($9M & $12M respectively) that voids if he ends the season on the DL. This is obviously very significant, considering the fact that those would be about as no-brainer of a decision as picking up Pujols’ for this season. That being said, assuming Wainwright does have TJ surgery & does miss the entire season, an incredibly weak 2012 free agent starting pitching class just got a lot more interesting. Wainwright is a top-5 talent in all of the game…I’m talking Felix, halladay, sabathia, etc. category…& he (as well as the Yankees) may just find himself as a free agent after this season. Very interesting…

    • Sorry but it is important to point out that this is NOT true.

      Those options you are referring to are vesting options that would have kicked in had he stayed healthy this season. However, if he finishes the year on the DL and they don’t vest the Cardinals still can, and will, simply pick up the options.

      So he will not be a free agent until 2014. Nothing changes.

  3. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    I for one am not interested in giving "big prospects" for him. Taking on that contract will be a burden in an of itself and one that the Cardinals will gladly like to get rid of unless they are in the thick of the race, in which case this is probably all moot anyhow. If other teams come bidding hard, like Rob hypothesized, I for one would be willing to pass entirely. Though that depends on just how well he's playing and what the Yankees situation is at that time.

  4. A big part of the cost will depend on the teams that are in the market for a top pitcher this July and who else is available. If Boston is looking for a good pitcher too then the cost could be very high. If another younger and quality pitcher is available, the cost may not be as much.

  5. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    True. Very true. Invariably, people looking to acquire talent, and their corresponding fans, almost always engage in a certain amount of wishful thinking.

  6. JoeYankeeFan says:

    Wow I didn’t think he was that old(36). I guess that’s because he stunk during his early years with Toronto. Better make sure he’s not just a NL pitcher. IMO being 36 years old he would have to have an amazing April/May/June in order for the Yanks to give any big prospects for him.

    • His problem in Toronto was more staying healthy than not being good enough.

      • JoeYankeeFan says:

        Maybe so, but even the seasons where he was able to stay on the field(4 with 150+IP) his performance was questionable.

        • Hardcore is right, growing pains. His time in Toronto was really before his prime. From 1998 until 2001 he had an ERA+ of 101. So he was never really ever a bad pitcher. He just wasn't a very good pitcher yet.

          • JoeYankeeFan says:

            I still wouldn't give away a big chip for a 36 year old NL League pitcher. None of the Killer B's and none of the Killer C's.

            A couple nice prospects ?? sure

        • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

          Those were his first few years in the MLB. Same thing could easily be said about Randy Johnson and Cliff Lee and they weren’t pitching in the AL East.

  7. Ken says:

    The chances of the Cardinals dealing Carp is slim to none. Carp loves STL and will get resigned for a reduced rate. HE has already said he will take less to finish his career in St Louis. He is the leader of that staff, even though Waino is the ace now. Kind of like Jeter is still the leader, although he is far from the best player now. They have a ton of value to a team outside of performance on the field.

    • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

      A lot of players make those very same sentiments. But when push comes to shove, no player wants to be where he's not wanted. No one would have remotely thought that Michael Young would ever come to a point where he is actually making a trade request. These things happen ALL THE TIME with players who love the city and team they're playing for.

    • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

      Sounds like he's already on board with the idea of a trade:

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/02/carpenter-w

    • Franco Kotos says:

      The Cards could find themselves in a rebuilding mode if they don't sign Pujols and if Wainwright is out for a considerable time in 2012. I would think the Cards will dangle Carpenter out there for the right price if they are in a position to do so.