According to a report from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are shopping McClellan in order to alleviate payroll costs so that St. Louis can sign free-agent veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt. McClellan will make $2.5 million this season in his second season of arbitration eligibility.
Strauss reports that the Cardinals have reached out to several teams, but the Orioles “have emerged as one of the more promising trade partners for McClellan.”
McClellan worked as a reliever for his first three years with the Cardinals, but began the 2011 season in the starting rotation, mainly because of an injury to Adam Wainwright. He began the season 6-1 with a 3.43 ERA in his first nine appearances. He then went on to lose five straight decisions and ended up back in the bullpen, where he pitched very well in middle relief (5-1, four holds).
On the season, McClellan was 12-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 141 2/3 innings pitched.
A versatile pitcher like McClellan would seem to be attractive to the Orioles. New executive vice president Dan Duquette has made acquiring starting pitching his No. 1 priority. The Orioles have double-digit starting rotation candidates now – so adding another arm that has proven he can start and pitch in relief would be attractive.
Strauss also reports that the Cardinals are mainly seeking little more than financial relief in trading McClellan, so the Orioles could get him on the cheap in a buyer’s market. The Cardinals are the team that needs to make the move.