The trade deadline acquisitions in 2011 helped push the Cardinals toward their late-season heroics that eventually resulted in a World Series championship.
While I'm not the Cardinals GM, I do play one while at my computer. The Cardinals are in serious need of some bullpen help, as they were last year at this point.
The most pressing need is to find a lefty reliever. Marc Rzepczynski has been just short of awful this year, posting a 5.86 ERA in his 38 appearances this year. Sam Freeman, a lefty the Cardinals brought up from Memphis to help in the bullpen, earned a ticket back to Memphis after 0-1 record and 6.00 ERA to go along with a 1.417 WHIP. Lefty Barret Browning looked good in his MLB debut on Saturday night, pitching two scoreless innings against the Pirates.
However, the Cardinals need to look for a spark to shake up the bullpen as they did in 2011.
If Browning works out as the lefty in the pen, the Cardinals should still look for someone to replace Fernando Salas and possibly Maikel Cleto. Neither has had an impressive 2012 and Cardinal fans cringe when they come into the game.
The Cardinals should make a run at Minnesota reliever Alex Burnett. He would be a great addition to Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte in the Cardinals bullpen. Burnett has not allowed a run in 12 consecutive appearances and is finally finding his way in the majors. He also plays for a last-place team, which may make him expendable and allow the Twins to continue to rebuild with a few Cardinal prospects.
If Chris Carpenter or Jaime Garcia are unable to make a return this season, the Cardinals need to look closely at Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels, whose names both continue to surface in trade rumors. Adding an ace like that would bring a much-needed buzz to St. Louis and would serve as an ideal short-term rental for a postseason run.