3 Potential Deals Cardinals GM John Mozeliak Should Propose at the Deadline
Few if any would’ve envisioned the St. Louis Cardinals to be hovering around .500 a month-and-a-half into the regular season. The Cardinals are the reigning National League champions, the team many picked to run away with the Central Division.
Yes, the season is young, but the Cardinals’ unexpected slump to begin 2014 is reason enough to believe general manager John Mozeliak could make a few moves at the trade deadline.
Sitting at 21-20, and five games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers, the Cardinals’ mediocre game is cause for concern, especially for Mozeliak, whose patience is growing thin.
“Having a belief in it is far different than actually getting it done,” Mozeliak told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s still early in the season where we can’t hit the panic button, but you’ve got to see the trend line changing.”
Even though Mozeliak insists he hasn’t hit the panic button just yet, it isn’t too far-fetched to believe he is looking at other alternatives outside of the organization to spark his club.
Here are three potential deals Mozeliak should propose at the trade deadline.
A Bat off the Bench
The Cardinals bench is struggling. When given a chance to turn in a quality at-bat in a pinch-hit situation, the Cardinals are collectively hitting .217, which ranks fifth in the National League and 11th in all of baseball.
The likes of Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso, Mark Ellis, Tony Cruz and Joey Butler, among others, aren’t getting the job done.
Mozeliak should package a prospect or two in exchange for a bat off the bench with some pop, one capable of coming through in late-inning situations and taking some pressure off of the Cardinals’ young and already overworked bullpen.
Middle Infield Help
At the start of the season, Kolten Wong was penciled in as the everyday starting second baseman for manager Mike Matheny. However, Wong was suddenly shunned from the lineup and sent down to Triple-A Memphis in late April to get more at-bats.
Mark Ellis, Wong’s replacement, has been less than impressive. In 21 games played, Ellis is hitting a microscopic .185 with 14 strikeouts.
Ellis’ struggles most likely led to Wong’s promotion earlier this week after his short stint at Memphis in which he hit .344 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 15 games.
It appears the shuffling will continue between Wong and Ellis.
Another problem, however, is the disappointing defensive play from newly acquired shortstop Jhonny Peralta and third baseman Matt Carpenter. The two have combined for 11 errors on the season.
Relief in the Bullpen
The Cardinals boast some of the most feared arms in any major league bullpen. The likes of Carlos Martinez and stopper Trevor Rosenthal from the right side and hard-throwing lefty Kevin Siegrist make for a lethal combination.
At least that’s common fodder.
However, the workload is piling up on the “Big Three” for the Cardinals. Manager Mike Matheny has been hesitant to trust in anyone else on a consistent basis, which leaves the Siegrist-Martinez-Rosenthal trio vulnerable.
Collectively, the three relievers have made 56 appearances, worked 58.1 innings and boast a 4.337 ERA.
Far from stellar, and cause for concern.
Mozeliak needs to add another arm or two to the bullpen to take the stress off of his young arms. If he doesn’t, the Cardinals will falter as the season wears on.