We've heard for a while now that the Cardinals would love to retain Jake Westbrook, whom they acquired at the trade deadline in a three-team deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that there's more to the situation than just interest now; the Cards are "making a push" to sign Westbrook and discussions are already taking place.
Westbrook, 33, totaled 75 innings over 12 starts with the Redbirds and posted a tidy 3.48 ERA in that span. His strikeouts trended upward and his control improved, while his sinker induced even more groundballs (62% vs. 53.3% with Cleveland) under Dave Duncan. While he would hit free agency for the first time this season, Westbrook has mutual interest in working out a deal with St. Louis and forgoing the process entirely.
Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro figure to be solid comparisons for Westbrook, meaning he could be in line for a two-year deal in the $16MM range. Locking up Westbrook early would allow the Cardinals to focus on offense this offseason. It would also likely set their 2011 rotation (barring injuries) to feature Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse, giving them potential for one of the better rotations in all of baseball, especially if Lohse can rediscover his 2008 form.