3 Realistic Trade Options for the St. Louis Cardinals to Replace Chris Carpenter

Jeff Sucher@jeffsucherContributor IIIJuly 12, 2012

3 Realistic Trade Options for the St. Louis Cardinals to Replace Chris Carpenter

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    As the St. Louis Cardinals head into the second half of the season, they have finally received the news (via Jennifer Langosch at mlblogs.com) they have been dreading for some time.  Ace Chris Carpenter is lost for the season.  

    Lance Lynn has done more than anyone would have expected stepping in for Chris Carpenter. All Lynn has done is win 11 games in the first half and make the All-Star team as a second-year player.  

    But now with the knowledge that Carp has a fork in 'em and Jaime Garcia still unsure of his return date, the Cardinals need to make a strong pitch for another arm in the rotation.

    Here are three realistic trade options the Cardinals should strongly consider:

Zack Greinke

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    While it's not super common to trade such high-profile players within a division, the Cardinals need to look long and hard at Greinke. 

    He has pitched well this year and has the coveted tag of "playoff experience."   However, his playoff experience didn't go so well as he posted a 1-1 record with a 6.48 ERA in his three playoff starts in 2011.

    Greinke is almost certainly not going to re-sign with the Brew Crew and the Brewers would be smart to get what they can for the right-handed ace.  

    The Cardinals have a few prospects that may draw some interest, most notably Shelby Miller.  It's unknown if the Cardinals would be willing to part with Miller, but the game has changed to a win-now setting, and parting with Miller may be necessary to land an ace.

    St. Louis is a desirable landing spot for many players and if Greinke could get a taste of what it's like to wear the birds on the bat, he very well could be persuaded to stay in St. Louis long term.

Cole Hamels

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    The Phillies have been miserable this year.  The injury bug has hit them worse that it has even hit the Cardinals this season.

    Ryan Howard has been down all year, Chase Utley missed most of the first half, Roy Halladay is on the DL.  Add to that the anemic offense in Philly this year and you find ace Cliff Lee with only one win to date.

    The bottom line is the Cardinals are in contention and it is clear the Phillies have a massive uphill climb to reach the first-place Nationals. Cole Hamels' name has been bantered about as trade bait to help the Phillies reload for years to come.  

    Hamels will no doubt chase the highest bidder in the offseason and therefore would be a short-term rental for the Cardinals.  

    But with Hamels' playoff experience and success and being backed with one of the top offenses in the National League, getting Hamels in a Cardinals uniform could turn into the second coming of CC Sabathia when he made his quaint visit to Milwaukee in 2008.

Ryan Dempster

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    The Cubs...what can you say about the Cubs other than they stink.  Theo Epstein has bitten off such a large project, his mouth is over-stuffed with the project ahead of him.

    The Cubs are 19 games below .500 and show no promise of moving forward anytime soon.  They have a need to get some prospects to show some hope for the future.  

    Enter Ryan Dempster.

    Dempster is fresh off the DL and looked very sharp in his last start before the All-Star break, pitching five scoreless innings in his first post-DL start.  Dempster currently has a 27-scoreless-innings streak intact as well. 

    Again, not sure if the Cubbies would be willing to trade Dempster to the club who has beaten them like a red-headed step child for so many years, but if Theo were smart, he'd listen to any offers put on his desk.

    Dempster is also a veteran who knows how to pitch.  If he could land the Cardinals 7-8 wins in the second half, they would gladly sign him up.   He would give the Cardinals a legit starter who can eat up innings and save the floundering bullpen that has plagued the them all season.