HOUSTON - MAY 06: Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez #51 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Minute Maid Park on May 6, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The team, while frustrated by the high asking prices for starting pitchers, continues to perform its due diligence in the pitching market, monitoring both starters and relievers, according to major-league sources.
The Cardinals have made it known they are not in the market for the big name pitchers like Greinke or Hamels, but second-tier starters like Vargas are still very much in the picture. The 29-year-old left-hander owns a 4.09 ERA in 20 starts, has averaged over 190 innings pitched the past two years, and is under team control until 2014.
While Vargas would come cheap, Rodriguez is weighed down by his hefty contract. The veteran left-hander is owed $10 million this year, $13 million the next and has a $13 million team option for the 2014 season. Since 2008, Rodriguez owns a 3.41 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
Which starting pitcher should the Cardinals go for?