High-ranking members of the Cardinals’ front office told Bruschini that the team is putting together an offer centering around lefty Hill and right-handed Halladay, but are first making sure that such a deal would truly improve the team.
“Wait a minute,” Brushini’s source said, “This is off the record, right?”
The news comes on the heels of a similar story, broken by ESPN’s Buster Olney , that the Phillies were considering offering the Cardinals a trade of first baseman Ryan Howard for reigning NL MVP, Albert Pujols.
The Phillies believe that signing Howard to an extension beyond 2011 would be easier for St. Louis than locking up Pujols long-term, and that that would make up for Howard’s more expensive current contract and inferior production.
Hill is coming off a mediocre season in which he posted a 7.80 ERA in 14 outings for the Baltimore Orioles. He has career 4.0 BB/9 and 1.3 HR/9 ratios.
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak noted that he saw a man in a Philadelphia Eagles shirt in the crowd while Hill pitched on Thursday, and that he assumed it was a scout from the Phillies.
“He looked good out there,” Mozeliak said after Hill took 79 pitches to get through three Spring Training innings. “I’m sure he made a big impression.”
Halladay, the 2003 AL Cy Young and a six-time All-Star, came to Philadelphia in December in a three-way blockbuster deal after the team’s contract talks with Cliff Lee fell through.
“[Phillies GM Ruben] Amaro doesn’t realize that Halladay might have a tough time adjusting to the National League,” Mozeliak said. “Also, wasn’t he injured that one year? Giving him a rotation spot in Philly would be a pretty big risk.”
Mozeliak also noted that Hill is younger and, while Halladay is under team control through 2014, “he’ll be able to command a pretty big chunk of money in 2015.”
“They’ve even got the same initials, that means it must be an even trade!”
At press time, the Cardinals front office was still divided over whether or not to also offer second baseman Skip Schumaker for the Phillies’ Chase Utley.
In other Cardinals news, rumors that outfielder Matt Holliday is on the trading block have been swirling out of concern that the team cannot afford to keep him in St. Louis after his contract expires in 2018.