Will the Cardinals Make a Play for Peavy?

Carmine CarusoCorrespondent IMay 25, 2009

It is never good to be on a team that wants to deal you to another city. Despite this, San Diego Padres starting pitcher Jake Peavy decided to stay with his team after a deal was made between the Padres and White Sox on Thursday, making use of his no-trade clause.

Peavy signed an extension with San Diego in 2007, and will be a Padre through 2012 barring a successful trade. The extension also came with a $22 million team option for 2013. Peavy turns 28 next Sunday, and will be 31 years old in May 2012.

Even with Peavy having declined the trade, that is not to say he is off-limits to be shipped out of San Diego. He has made it well known that he does not want to pitch in the American League, and of course the White Sox are an AL team.

If he did move to the AL, he would want to play for a team that is a top contender. I do not consider Chicago to be a bad team, but they are in fourth place in the AL Central, five-and-a-half games behind the Detroit Tigers. They also have a lesser record than the Padres.

A team that can certainly contend, and in fact has been specified by Peavy as one of the teams Peavy would be interested in playing for, is the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cards play in the NL Central, baseball's only six-team division, and a very competitive one. St. Louis is currently a half game back of the Milwaukee Brewers, who are surprisingly in first despite their offseason departures and the loss of Rickie Weeks for the season.

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The Cincinnati Reds have also been a surprise, hanging in at third place, three behind the Brew Crew.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs sit four-and-a-half back, but you know that they will be at the top end of their division as the year goes on.

St. Louis owns one of baseball's best records right now, at 26-18, but they faced a bumpy stretch in mid-March following one of the best starts in the MLB. They went 2-7 from May 8 to 18, although they did win their next five straight.

The team with the second-most World Series Championships in baseball history obviously has high standards. If the Cards want to have a chance at winning number 11 this year, they will most likely need to make a big move to stay atop the race.

Thus far, St. Louis' starting pitching has enjoyed a 3.73 ERA, which is second best in the majors. Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse are the one-two pitchers for St. Lou, and each have four wins with ERA's under four. But depth in the rotation is questionable.

Chris Carpenter is 2-0 to start to season, having not allowed an earned run in 15.0 innings. Yet, you would be better off trusting the Cookie Monster to protect your jar of cookies than trusting Carpenter to stay healthy. If he is hurt again, that will be a huge blow to the team's pitching.

Joel Pinero has made some unexpected noise in the rotation, 5-4 to this point with a 3.52 ERA, and one of those five wins being a complete game shutout. He was extremely inconsistent last year, however, usually following long winning streaks with long losing streaks and vice-versa. Since the middle of his earlier career in Seattle, Pinero has faced inflated ERA's year after year. It is doubtful that he will be able to keep up his good start.

Todd Wellemeyer is the other man in this rotation. He has had a rough start, with a 5.19 ERA and 4-4 record, and has been the only one really holding the Cardinals back so far. But if and when Pinero and Carpenter stop producing, can the Cardinals keep winning with only Lohse and Wainwright pitching well?

The Cardinals could, without a doubt, use Peavy's services. They have the prospects to give up, and with a relatively low $88 million payroll, they can afford Peavy.

With an addition like Peavy, they would have one of the best rotations in baseball, and would be a safe bet to make and possibily go deep into the playoffs.