The St. Louis Cardinals have a major weakness in their bullpen.
If this team is going to overcome this weakness and make another playoff run, they need to make a trade similar to the one they made at the trade deadline in 2011 that landed them Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel.
If they can’t land an arm or two for the late innings and can’t start winning close games on a more consistent basis, this team will struggle down the stretch.
So, let’s take a look at three American League relievers who could help the Cardinals repeat their 2011 World Series magic.
Aaron Crow, Kansas City Royals
The Royals haven’t used Crow very much this season. He’s appeared in only 39 games so far in 2012.
Despite having a respectable 12 holds, he has a disappointing 4.04 ERA. In 2011, he posted an outstanding 2.76 ERA in 57 appearances.
He has a great fastball and a couple of decent breaking balls to keep hitters off-balance.
The chance to move to a winning team like the Cardinals might be enough to allow Crow to develop into an elite relief pitcher.
Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s
Doolittle is a converted infielder, much like current Cardinals closer Jason Motte.
Motte has worked out pretty well for the Redbirds, so adding another converted infielder might be a good move.
Doolittle is a lefty, so he can help Rzepczynski and take some of the pressure off him.
He’s only pitched in 11 Major League games, but he’s compiled an impressive 2.45 ERA and has struck out 24 batters in just 14.2 innings.
Charlie Furbush, Seattle Mariners
Furbush has pitched 36.2 innings for the last-place Mariners so far this season. In those innings, he’s struck out 46 batters and has a 2.21 ERA.
He’s only been in the majors for two years now, so he has plenty of time to become an even better pitcher.
He hasn’t allowed a home run to a lefty all season, and lefties are hitting only .161 against the southpaw hurler.
He struggled as a starter last season, but seems to be settling into his role as a reliever quite nicely. He could be a great addition to the Cardinals bullpen and should still have plenty of gas left in his tank.