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This may appear a more subtle need, given the success of the rotation, but there is in fact a need there.
While Lance Lynn has done a fantastic job of filling the vacancy left by Chris Carpenter, the fix for Jaime Garcia’s absence may not be so permanent.
To date, rookie pitcher Joe Kelly has done a good job of filling the gap.
That being said, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Saturday evening that Kelly could be used as trade bait for another starting pitcher.
In some scenarios, it could mean Kelly himself is in play. The Cardinals remain players for Tampa Bay starting pitcher James Shields and had expressed interest in Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano, but he was traded Saturday night to the Chicago White Sox. The Rays are committed to acquiring major league talent for Shields, who is under control through 2014. Shields is an innings monster who offers the kind of short-term flexibility the Cards seek as an alternative to long-term commitments to free agents.
If general manager John Mozeliak has plans to do anything, so far he has kept it very quiet. There have been rumors about the Anaheim Angels being interested in Marc Rzepczynski. Another rumor surfaced on Sunday that the Seattle Mariners are interested in Allen Craig.
Little is known of what could come to St. Louis in either of those deals.
A pitcher like Shields would, however, likely make the Cardinals more willing to deal. While he is under the last mandatory year of his contract, he does come with options for 2013-14, so a deal for Shields wouldn’t be a simple rental. He would also be a definite upgrade to the rotation, giving them a 2013 rotation of Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Shields, Garcia and Lynn (not necessarily in that order).
Will the Cardinals move for a starting pitcher? We’ll know soon enough.