The 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.