You’ve probably heard that the New York Yankees are a team scorned, and they are in search of a top shelf starting pitcher. The Cardinals just happen to have a couple of those, and one just happens to be nearing the end of his contract. He’s ‘s already spent 6 seasons pitching in the AL, and he’s ONLY due a measly $15M in 2011. His contract includes a team option for $15M in 2012 or a $1M buyout. He’s the one and only Chris Carpenter, and he’s already been named as a “person of interest” in the MLB rumor mill.
Of course, you all know how this rumor mill thing works by now. Rumor mongers will name everyone from Johan Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Aaron Miles to Harvey Haddix and Warren Spahn by the time the dust settles. That’s not to say that there isn’t something to the idea that the Yankees might be interested in Carpenter, though. It’s a combination of desperation and due diligence on the part of the Yankees. They have a need, and they are probably going to check out every possible lead. On the other side, John Mozeliak has probably already rehearsed his speech for Brian Cashman. Then again, he might be trying to pick between “No thanks.” and “Oh, hell no!”
He’ll probably deliver his response in a much more civil way, but the message will make it across. But……
What if he pauses?
What if he thinks about paying $15M for a 36 year-old Carpenter pitching in 2011 and a 37 year-old Carp pitching for the team in 2012? Now, Carp is what is commonly known as a 10-5 guy, so he’d have to first give his approval. Would he consider it? Well, I can think of 14 million reasons why he just might. That 14 million is the difference in dollars between his 2012 buyout amount and his option, and he could certainly require that his option be picked up as part of such a deal. If Carp’s on board, what would/could Mo ask for in return? Obviously, the Yankees wouldn’t be trading an equivalent starting pitcher, or this would all be moot. Hmmm, now who would or should be at the top of Mo’s wishlist? What non-pitcher on the Yankee’s roster would fill the biggest void on the Cardinals? Figured it out yet?
The salary even works. Cano is due $10M in 2011, and his contract includes team options for 2012 ($14M vs $2M buyout) and 2013 ($15M vs $2M buyout). His 2010 batting line was .319/.381/.534 with 29 hrs and 109 rbi. Oh, and he plays 2B. Would the Yankees trade him? Probably not in a million years. He’s a cornerstone and a building block of the future. Do the Cardinals want to trade Carp? No, probably not in a million years. He’s a top shelf starter and a former Cy Young winner. That’s why the deal is pretty much a non-starter, but it never hurts to ask.
If you were the Cardinals, would you do this deal? Do you consider replacing Carp with someone like Kyle McClellan or Lance Lynn in the rotation and adding arguably the best 2B in the league to your roster? It may seem crazy to deal away an ace, but Carp won’t be an ace forever.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Let’s say that Cashman does pick up the phone and make that call to Mo. What if they just happen to discuss an even bigger blockbuster deal? Consider something involving Carpenter and Pujols as part of a package for Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano. Teixeira is 30, and he’s signed through 2016 (his age 36 season) for $22.5M per year. Even though I can’t picture Carp and AP in pinstripes, stranger things have happened.