ST. LOUIS • The Cardinals had a scout attend the Boston vs. Baltimore game on Sunday with an eye on the two teams and possibly pitcher Jake Peavy, and this afternoon ESPN.com reporters have suggested that St. Louis could be in play for the Red Sox righthander.
Jayson Stark tweeted that a deal could happen "quick."
That does not resonate with the Cardinals who are "looking for offense" at this point and not a pitcher like Peavy, a source with knowledge of the team's strategy said.
The Cardinals have had an eye on the available pitchers for at least a month leading up to July and the trade deadline because they wanted to see if an upgrade for the rotation was possible, one that would create a trickle-down that also strengthened the bullpen. Their search has expanded to include starters who could also offer the team innings especially if the injuries persisted.
Joe Kelly is set to return from the disabled list as soon as Friday giving the Cardinals time to assess their pitching need.
Their offensive need is more acute, and harder to address.
With several young players in the mix, the Cardinals have two starters who have proven they can go six innings consistently. The rest, like tonight's starter Carlos Martinez, have needed support from the bullpen.
Kelly could start as soon as Friday. A Cardinals official said this afternoon that the team is "leaning that direction" but wants to see Kelly throw a bullpen when he returns to St. Louis on Wednesday.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, who by team policy does not discuss trade rumors or reports, said Monday that the team has not changed its view of the market or needs at the deadline based on news that Michael Wacha would miss at least another month. The Cardinals were already looking at starting pitchers, so the team's shopping has not changed.
The Cardinals took a run at Peavy, 33, last season before he was traded by the White Sox to Boston. The cost of the righty was too high, as the White Sox sought at least two top prospects for Peavy, or they had high interest in Carlos Martinez.
Any interest in Peavy this year would hinge on acquiring a pitcher like him without giving up much in return. Peavy has around $7 million remaining on his salary and he's a free agent at the end of the season. The Cardinals are reluctant to part with any of their top outfield or pitching prospects at the upper two levels for a pricey rental.
Peavy is 1-7 this season with a 4.64 ERA for the reigning champs.
He has pitched six innings in nine of his previous 10 starts, and on Sunday against the Orioles he allowed one earned run and struck out three during his six innings. He received a no-decision in the Red Sox's 7-6 loss to Baltimore.
The Cardinals play Baltimore and Boston in August and they have had scouts building updated profiles on American League teams that the Cardinals will face later this season.
• CARDS TALK: FANS SOUND OFF ABOUT PEAVY