(Baseball StL) -- On the south side of Chicago, they have an expression: “I’m not SAYING, I’m just saying.”
Also on the south side is a pitcher who would be available for not a lot of talent who would fit quite nicely in the Cardinals rotation. If we’re seriously looking for another starter, that is.
The only position Cards GM John Mozeliak identified as an area the Redbirds might want to look for help would be pitching, something you never have enough of, no matter how much you have.
While pitching coach Derek Lilliquist has done a superb job keeping everyone at their best, the job he has done becomes more compelling with you consider that 40 percent of the starting rotation is on the DL (Garcia and Carpenter), one pitcher has chronic elbow problems (Westbrook) one has had Tommy John surgery (Wainwright) and one is a rookie (Miller).
In addition, the Cards have tried John Gast (DL), Michael Wacha and Tyler Lyons (Both in AAA) and have by default settled on Joe Kelly (sort of) as the fifth starter, at least for now.
So one more veteran who is a proven winner wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially a veteran with an enormous heart and an Albanian-blood-feud desire to win.
Who is such a man? Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox.
His contract is too rich for the Cards to absorb so a straight up deal is not likely. Peavy makes $14.5 million this year and next, meaning the Cards would owe a pro-rated portion this year and too much money next year so some consideration in that regard from the White Sox might be necessary.
And he’s been hurt. Three years ago he tore his right latissimus dorsi tendon completely off the bone. No major leaguer had ever fully torn the tendon, which connects the latissimus dorsi muscle to the humerus bone and helps transfer the force of pitching from the legs to the arm.
Other pitchers like Tom Gordon and Brad Penny have torn the muscle 30-40 percent, but no one ever tore it completely off the bone and came back to pitch again.
But following a delicate surgery, he did and was steadily returning to form until a rib fracture last month sidelined him for a while. His last outing was very strong and he has no elbow, back or shoulder issues.
Now the upside: He is a Cy Young award winner and three-time All-Star who is 127-97 with an ERA of 3.49 in 12 big league years. His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is 35, 16th among active pitchers.
He averages about one strikeout an inning, his strikeouts to walk ratio is better than 3-1 and he gives up less than one home run a game. And when he is healthy, he throws a ton of innings.
While Peavy’s price tag seems high, he a relative bargain compared to Cliff Lee ($25 million a year through 2016, plus a $12.5 buy-out) or Cole Hamels ($22.5 million through 2018 with other considerations).
The Cubs want Mozeliak’s next child for Matt Garza, a temperamental, overrated pitcher with a poor attitude so that is going nowhere. And if we are really talking about the Astros’ Bud Norris (34-46, 4.33 ERA) as the next best available pitcher, we have reached the bottom of the barrel.
The trait you can’t see in any of Peavy’s numbers is his burning, unwavering desire to win and be on a winner. His character and make up fit well on the current Cardinal team and his unflinching competitiveness would inspire the Redbirds even further.
A lot of contracts are expiring after this year and Peavy’s would fit should the Cards be able to get him for some of the talent they have but will never be able to promote. The White Sox need help at almost every position except second base and will be looking to move veterans within the next week.
Something to consider. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.