Cardinals Rocket to Top after Recent Moves

Curtis PittmanContributor IJuly 24, 2009

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 1:  A vendor sells foam fingers and pennants outside Busch Stadium before the St. Louis Cardinals game against the New York Mets during their Opening Day game on April 1, 2007 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Mets beat the Cards 6-1.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

As Spring Training came to a halt and the 2009 Cardinal roster began to unfold, Cardinal Nation couldn't help but be at least a little pessimistic about the season that was to come.

However, this somewhat surprising and overachieving team has made some recent moves that would make any team better.

The Cards have set themselves up to make a run.

When the season started, the Opening Day roster didn't look as if it could compete with some of the others in the National League. Even in their own NL Central, the Cubs and Brewers looked to have much more production in their lineups than the St. Louis team.

But the moves made by the front office have steadily made the St. Louis lineup one of the best in the league.

The first step in the transformation of the roster was acquiring Mark DeRosa from Cleveland. Because the Cardinals had only two unestablished players to choose from at the hot corner—Joe Thurston and Brian Barden—it was clear they would need an upgrade when both took dramatic turns for the worse in their offensive production toward the latter part of May.

Even though DeRosa has just now started to heat up, he adds a huge element to the lineup, both offensively and defensively.

After the DeRosa deal, the Cardinals would free up some room in the outfield by trading the struggling Chris Duncan to the Red Sox for middle infielder Julio Lugo. Not only did the Cardinals add some depth to their shortstop and second base positions, but more importantly, they cleared the way for what was to come.

After confirming what most fans thought was coming, the Cardinals made their move Friday and picked up Matt Holliday from the A's in exchange for prize prospect, Brett Wallace. The move not only added some major protection behind Albert Pujols, but also added a defensive aspect to the left field position.

So, the Cardinals have made it clear that they are here to win now. And with the recent additions of big bats DeRosa and Holliday to go along with Pujols and Ludwick, the Cards could have easily just propelled themselves from Opening Day underdogs, to late-season favorites.