With Brad Penny on the disabled list and Kyle Lohse undergoing right forearm surgery on Friday that may end his season, the mighty St. Louis rotation suddenly has a pair of holes. While Penny's strained lat muscle isn't seen as serious, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on the unusual nature of Lohse's injury and how the Cardinals aren't sure how long the right-hander may be out of action.
Strauss notes in his latter story that with Lohse's condition in limbo, "the Cardinals appear increasingly likely to examine trade and free agent options" for their starting rotation. Before anyone immediately brings up the Roy Oswalt rumors, it's worth noting that Lohse was the Cardinals' fifth starter. With Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright entrenched as the staff's co-aces and rookie Jaime Garcia pitching like an ace himself, it's far more likely that St. Louis will look to acquire a minor pitching upgrade rather than spend the money and prospects needed to get a pitcher of Oswalt's caliber.
Should the Cards explore the free agent market, it's worth mentioning that two of the four starters MLBTR's Luke Adams mentioned in his look at notable free agent pitchers still available have St. Louis ties; Braden Looper was originally drafted by the Cardinals and spent four seasons with the club, while the semi-retired John Smoltz just pitched for the Redbirds last season. Pedro Martinez could be another intriguing option if his price is right. St. Louis isn't the East Coast team that Martinez would reportedly prefer to join, but the Cards are certainly contenders.