This post really has no base, but I thought it would be an interesting subject to think about. If you weren't aware (Though I'm sure you were), Adam Wainwright will have to undergo Tommy John surgery, missing all of the 2011 season. This made me wonder if an aggresive, thinking outside the box approach may be to target an injured potential star like Wainwright and hope he returns to form. I'm not sure how common (If ever) deals like this are, but I think it could possibly make sense for a couple of reasons.
For the Pirates
1. The Pirates will be closer to contention in 2012 and 2013, so Wainwright's missed season nearly as crushing as it is to the Cardinals.
2. A chance to acquire a proven ace at possibly a discounted rate. A healthy Wainwright will probably never be traded.
3. 2012 and 2013 are team option years (9 and 12 million). Even if Wainwright isn't 100% in 2012, the team still has him for 2013, when they're going to more realistically challenge for a division title.
For the Cardinals
1. 2011 could be Albert's last year. Someone like Paul Maholm (Among other things), could help stabilize the rotation and fill at least a partial gap that Wainwright's leaving. If Pujols bolts, the Cardinals still have a decent team, but nowhere near where they are with him (obviously).
2. 2011 could be Albert's last year. They may not get anything for losing Pujols, in terms of trade value. This could be an opportunity to bolster their system, get younger, and plan a very quick rebuild.
3. 2011 could not be Albert's last year. It's going to take a boatload to sign Pujols. That much we know. Taking Wainwright off the books, along with 3-4 prospects and an ML proven player could help the Cardinals shave salary if they do end up inking Pujols.
Curious what the masses would think about something like this going down. Would you love it? Hate it? Of course, it all depends on the price of acquiring Wainwright.
Personally, I think a package of Maholm, Allie, D'Arnaud, and Locke would be interesting. I know some will say that's a huge over-payment for the risk, and some will say that's not nearly enough for two season of a potential Cy Young winner.