UPDATE: The Cardinals have acquired Justin Masterson from the Indians in exchange for AA outfielder James Ramsey. You can read more about the acquisition HERE.
The non-waiver deadline is only a day away and the Cardinals remain linked to various starting pitchers. Joe Strauss has a nice article explaining why starting pitching is the focus for the Cards, while the offense continues to struggle. He lists Jon Lester, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels, Ian Kennedy, Justin Masterson and David Price as the pitchers that the team is at least doing due diligence on.
Here's a look at each of those pitchers and where things currently stand in the rumor mill:
Lester is certainly the hottest commodity right now. After he was scratched from today's start, indicating that a trade may be imminent, rumors having been flying left and right as to where he may end up (and most of them false).
Sifting through all the noise, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks that the Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates and Mariners are the primary suitors for Lester, while Jon Heyman is reporting that the Dodgers and Cardinals may lead the race for Lester's services.
Lee is probably a fallback
option for most teams, including the Cardinals. He just recently came
back from an injury and has been roughed up in his two starts. Per Jayson Stark, scouts who have watched Lee feel that he is "far from healthy" and he is likely to be traded in August, if at all.
There hasn't been much buzz surrounding the Cardinals and Burnett, even though the Cards are one of the teams that Burnett can be traded to without his consent, per Jerry Crasnick.
What we do know is that its unlikely that Burnett will be returning to the Pirates, as Jayson Stark reports that talks between the Pirates and Phillies are "all but dead".
Hamels remains an option for the Cardinals as they are once again one of the teams he can be traded to without his consent, per Jon Paul Morosi.
However, it appears that the Phillies are not serious about trading Hamels, according to Jon Heyman, as their asking price is astoromical.
There has been little or no talk regarding the Cards and Kennedy and it remains to be seen if the Padres are serious about moving him.
According to Jayson Stark, its about a 50/50 proposition that Kennedy is traded.
Masterson is another pitcher on the block who appears to be flying below the radar. He is having a down year, but Buster Olney says that the Indians are "ready to move" him.
The Rays have put themselves back in the playoff hunt after climbing from 18 games under .500 to just one game under. One would think that would preclude them from trading Price, especially since he is still under team control for 2015 and could be traded this winter instead.
However, Jon Heyman reports that the Rays are telling teams that they are "talking and willing" to trade Price. While Heyman notes that, in addition to Lester, the Dodgers and Cardinals are also the most aggressive pursuers of Price.
Overall, the Cardinals appear likely to acquire a starter by the deadline as they have no starter listed for Saturday, per Derrick Goold, with Mike Matheny indicating that the starter for Saturday could be an "external" option.
Stay tuned for more and the rumors continue to fly....