The St. Louis Cardinals traded for Edwin Jackson in July knowing it would be a half-season fling—at the time Jackson, a free agent at 28, was expecting a five-year deal for far more than the Cardinals, with Kyle Lohse still in the fold and Shelby Miller on the way, would be willing to spend. Come January, 2012, and the rumor mill surrounding Jackson has found a tempo nearly as unbearably slow as his pitching—but no matter how cheap he gets, Jackson's unlikely to get cheap enough for his 2011 team.
Jackson's certainly better than Lohse or Jake Westbrook, the two starters pricing the Cardinals out of another starter's services in 2012. But starting pitching depth is less of a problem for the Cardinals now than it was when they signed both of those would-be fifth starters. Jaime Garcia was locked up long-term last year; Chris Carpenter was extended; Adam Wainwright's due back. And behind him sit some low-upside, here-right-now options—Lance Lynn and Marc Rzepczynski, cooling their arms in the bullpen—and some high-upside, here-in-a-few-years options—Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, and Tyrell Jenkins.
For all the right reasons, the Cardinals were just never in on their three-month rental permanently. That likely remains the case.