Adam Wainwright might be heading for Tommy John surgery. The higher-ups in St. Louis' spring training camp are thinking this is more than the aches and pains that arise from starting up regular baseball activity again after an offseason of strength and conditioning. Wainwright's right elbow prognosis is not promising according to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak. This would be a huge blow to the Red Birds who are hoping to contend for the NL Central title this season, as Wainwright has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past three seasons (50-22, 87 GS, 7 CG, 595.1 IP, 156:516, 2.68/1.14, .237/.640, 14.1 WAR). With him possibly out of the rotation, what does that mean?
Well, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Gracia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse are still there. Minor league starting pitchers Bryan Augenstein, Maikel Cleto and David Kopp are on the 40-man roster, but are unlikely ready for the Big Show. PJ Walters might be the best choice on the roster to take over the back end of the rotation, but he's been beat up when given a chance with the Cards over the past 2 seasons.
Then there's free agent Kevin Millwood, who might just have turned his rejection of a minor league deal from the Yankees into a lucrative opportunity with St. Louis. Millwood remains unemployed at the ripe age of 36. He's familiar with both leagues and has had his share of ups (2 18-win seasons, no-hitter, ERA crown) and downs (16 loss/5.10 ERA '10). Even though his ERA was inflated last season, he still proved to be an innings eater, which he has done consistently over the course of his career (179 IP per season). At this stage, Millwood might be had for 1 year $3M plus incentives, and he might be enough for St. Louis to keep their playoff aspirations alive.