Cardinals Trade For A Starter




The Deal
Lefthander Mike Maroth was traded from the Tigers to the Cardinals for a player to be named. On Aug. 30, Detroit received Triple-A righthander Chris Lambert to complete the deal.
The Big Leaguer
Though Maroth has started 143 big league games, he'll likely be remembered for just one season, 2003, when he went 9-21, 5.73 for the 119-loss Tigers, making him the last pitcher to lose 20 games in a season. Interestingly, another 2003 Tiger, Wil Ledezma, was traded two days ago. A third-round pick of the Red Sox out of Central Florida in 1998, Maroth was moved to the Tigers for reliever Bryce Florie at the 1999 trade deadline. A finesse lefty with an excellent pickoff move, Maroth provided the Tigers with more than 30 starts per season from 2003 through 2005, but an elbow injury he sustained in 2006 limited him to 13 games, thus holding him out of the Tigers' postseason run. The 29-year-old Maroth has struggled this season, going 5-2, 5.06 in 13 starts, as he works his way back from injury.
The Prospect
Lambert, 24, was the 19th player selected in the 2004 draft but doesn't look like he'll live up to his draft status. The Boston College product has lost some velocity off his fastball (now topping out in the low 90s rather than the mid-90s) and never has developed a reliable breaking ball or command. His changeup may be his best pitch now, but it hasn't been enough for him to find success as either a starter or reliever. Lambert has split 2007 between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, going 1-6, 6.21 in 33 games (nine starts). He has a 67-37 K-BB ratio in 84 innings, and opponents have strafed him for a .297 average and 15 homers.
Quick Take
The Tigers had too many starting pitchers, while the Cardinals had too few, making them ideal trading partners. With Kip Wells demoted to the bullpen, and with both Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder on the shelf, St. Louis welcomes the healthy and fairly effective Maroth to its rotation. With the trade, the Tigers make room for two of Andrew Miller, Chad Durbin or Nate Robertson--who made a rehab start for Double-A Erie last night--to slot behind Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman and Kenny Rogers.