Cardinals are “exploring” trades for Cole Hamels or David Price, signing Max Scherzer

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From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi

The St. Louis Cardinals say they like their starting rotation. But that is not preventing them from pursuing a major upgrade.

The team is exploring trades for left-handers Cole Hamels and David Price and the possibility of signing free-agent right-hander Max Scherzer, according to major-league sources.

St. Louis has five excellent starters in Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Carlos Martinez. Young left-hander Marco Gonzales is another rotation option and Jaime Garcia is expected to be recovered from his latest shoulder surgery by the beginning of the 2015 season.

But there are serious question marks surrounding Wainwright, who needed a cleanup procedure on his right elbow in late October, and Wacha, who logged only 107 innings in 2014 due to right shoulder troubles.

Hamels is due $94 million over the next four seasons and carries a $24 million vesting option (or $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout) for 2019. Price is set to become a free agent next offseason.

Scherzer, a native of St. Louis, is thought to be seeking a contract worth close to $200 million.