Let me preface this by saying that I really respect Peter Gammons. He is one of the best reporters in the game. However a tweet from him this morning had me scratching my head.
Here is the tweet from Gammons at 11:23 AM this morning:
"Cards are asking about a SS as well as P. Interested in Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris of Astros."
The Cardinals currently have Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller locked in a battle for the 5th starter spot and the other 4 starters have had a pretty good spring. Jaime Garcia has shown no ill affects from his shoulder issues from last year. Adam Wainwright looks like he has returned to his 2010 form and Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook have not showed any signs of slippage.
With the starters fairing well this spring and the emergence of Michael Wacha, it begs the question as to why the Cardinals would feel the need to pursue more pitching?
Derrick Goold suggested the Cards could be bargain hunting from the salary dumping Astros. However, while that makes sense in the case of Bud Norris, who is making $3 million this year, Harrell is only making 1/2 a million this year and is not arbitration eligible until 2015.
Perhaps the Cardinals could acquire Norris for cheap, giving them another young arm to add to their pitching mix without having to give up one of their young arms in return. Norris would be under team control through the 2015 season at a reasonable price. But he has had only one above average season in 2011, when he posted a 3.77 ERA with 176 K's in 186 innings.
Harrell had a bit of a breakout season in 2012, with a 3.76 ERA and 140 K's inn 193.2 innings. But he would probably cost a bit more in terms of prospects and I don't know if he's worth it.
Goold also bought up another good point, if the Cardinals felt the need to add pitching, they could have pursued Kyle Lohse, which would only cost money, not prospects. However, his asking price and years have not appeared to have come down much, despite his lack of a contract offer.
My only hope is that the Cardinals do not pull another Dan Haren move and trade an up-and-coming young pitcher for a so-called "proven" pitcher (we all remember Mark Mulder, don't we).