Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch cites a team source who says that the Cardinals are starting to look for starting pitching help. The deal is this: Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny will likely come back, but no one is quite sure when, and they need to plug the rotation holes.
The unsettling part: Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, who reportedly initiated the search for pitching, are lobbying for Jeff Suppan. To which I can only say “eek!” OK, sure, if there’s anyone you’d trust to fix Jeff Suppan it would be Dave Duncan because he’s the best there is, but he’s still Jeff Suppan, dudes.
Other possibilities mentioned: Kevin Millwood and Brian Bannister. Each, I think, could be intriguing additions. The former is struggling right now and the latter is surging, but I think each of them could do well with some time in the NL.
The one course that seems to have been ruled out is a Pedro Martinez-style reclamation project, which probably makes sense.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.