St. Louis Cardinals: Free Agent Pitchers Decidedly Wainwright Free

Tony La Russa has suggested the St. Louis Cardinals "won't look outside the organization" to replace Adam Wainwright, whose elbow ligament will at the very least cost him a significant part of the season, and you might think that's an overly broad statement to make on the same day the manager heard the news. Technically that's correct. Practically—well, there's not a lot out there. Jeremy Bonderman and Kevin Millwood top the list of remaining free agent starters, and also my list of pitchers likely to be at or near replacement level next year. 

Bonderman, ex-great-white-hope of the Detroit Tigers and ERA-title-qualifier at 20, came back from a year and a half in the shoulder-injury wilderness to define replacement level for the Tigers, losing 2.5 strikeouts per nine innings from that promising age-23 season and proving as susceptible as ever to the home run. Bonderman's drawn some interest in the past few weeks from the Cleveland Indians, but only on a minor league deal. He's worth that—I suppose I'd rather he be one of the Cardinals' internal options than Ian Snell—but not much more than that.

Millwood also swallowed innings last year, and also didn't do an especially good job of it. He finished 4-16 in 31 starts as the Baltimore Orioles' veteran steward, and while his peripherals were better than Bonderman's, his home run rate was almost comically high—sounds like a job for Dave Duncan. Millwood's always been a hard pitcher to read, and while he, too, interests me more than Snell—he's above Snell-placement level—he's unlikely to do enough to get Dave Duncan, Tony La Russa, or John Mozeliak on the phone. 

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