TORONTO: Jake Westbrook was pulled from this afternoon's start against the Blue Jays one hour before game time, indicating that he probably will be traded before today's 4 p.m. deadline.
According to several reports, the Cardinals appear to be the team hot on Westbrook's trail. St. Louis had shown interest in Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren, starters who already have been dealt, plus Aaron Cook and Livan Hernandez, among others. Westbrook's name also has been prominently mentioned.
Westbrook is in the last season of a three-year contract worth $33 million. If he is swapped today, he will be owed about $3.9 million of his 2010 salary of $11 million. But if he is traded, he earns an additional $2 million, which would be a sticking point for many teams, inasmuch as Westbrook will be free to pick his own team and deal after the season.
After missing all of 2009 following Tommy John surgery to his right elbow in 2008, Westbrook has posted a 6-7 record and 4.65 earned-run average in 2010, displaying no physical problems attending to his former injury. He has, however, shown the rust that built up over a long period of inactivity.