HELP! The Best St. Louis Cardinal Late Season Additions
The St. Louis Cardinals know a mid-season drought should only be temporary—injuries, slumps, and the like are issues every ballclub encounters.
Although they boast a strong lineup on paper, the Cardinals are in trouble at the 2010 season midpoint: Two starting pitchers and an All-Star outfielder are injured, and the Redbirds' big bats have yet to live up to their potentials.
An obvious cure for injury and lack of performance is to go to the bench, but sometimes the bench simply cannot get the job done. So, franchises make larger adjustments—they make trades.
These mid-to-late-season transactions sometimes turn out to make the difference—the right pitcher can win a World Series game, the right pinch hitter can score a winning run.
The 2010 Cardinals need one of these late-season guys, and they need him soon.
If the Cardinals want to regain the lead on the NL Central, they're going to need more than luck.
The following is a look at some of the players who have had a huge impact on the Cardinal ballclub during the second half of the season.
The 1985 Cardinals boasted defensive dominance and base running supremacy. Young talent in Willie McGee and Vince Coleman helped the Cardinals win 101 games, but the Cards could not have clinched the NL East without the help of César Cedeño.
Towards the end of the summer, Cards' first baseman Jack Clark could not play due to injury—the Cards needed someone to replace one of their better hitters.
So, they acquired veteran Cedeño in an August 29 trade with the Cincinnati Reds. Nearing the end of his career, the 34-year-old center fielder had been very unproductive. With the Cardinals, however, Cedeño proved he could still play like an All-Star.
In only 28 games with the Redbirds, Cedeño hit .434 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.
During the '85 postseason, Cedeño filled in for an injured Vince Coleman, and helped win the the first game of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals.
As it did in 1985, everything seemed to fall into place for the 2004 Cardinals. The team won 105 games.
In August of that year, Larry Walker knew his career was waning, and desired to join a playoff-bound team.
The division-leading St. Louis ballclub swiftly snatched Walked, adding power to its lineup, as well as former Gold Glove talent to its outfield.
With the Cards, Walker batted .280 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs.
Unlike the 1985 and 2004 versions of their team, the 2006 Cardinals were streaky, unpredictable and often disappointing.
Starting pitching was solid in Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan, but the rest of the pitchers were inconsistent.
On July 5, 2006, the Cards acquired Jeff Weaver, a 1998 first round draft pick whose career had been less than dazzling.
After a shaky start with the Cardinals, Weaver won key games that helped his new team clinch the NL Central—the Cards went 83-78 overall.
Weaver's most significant impact on the Cards surfaced in the playoffs. The 29-year-old won game five of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, assisting the Cards in winning their first World Series since 1982.
OK, back to '85. Another big reason the Cardinals won 101 games: good pitching. The Cards starting rotation all had winning seasons.
But a team can't rely on starting pitching alone. A good team always has a good closer, and the Cards had one—Bruce Sutter—until they lost him to free agency.
So, the Cards called up Todd Worrell in August, 1985, making the 25-year-old rookie their closer.
It was an excellent call-up.
Worrell went 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA and had five key saves. His help was crucial in the Cards' run to the '85 World Series.
Unlike the aforementioned Cardinal teams, the 2000 Cardinal team did not make a run to the World Series.
They did, however, win 95 regular-season games, as well as the NLDS.
The home run was the norm in St. Louis at the turn of the century—Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds and Ray Lankford all hit more than 20 homers. But an older McGwire suffered late-season injuries that kept his threatening bat away from the plate.
So, the Cards acquired veteran first baseman Will Clark to fill the void. And fill the void he did—in only 51 games, he hit .345 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs.
Clark also hit home runs in both the NLDS and NLCS.
In short, Clark finished his career strongly, and he did it as a Cardinal.
Possibilities for 2010
The 2010 Cardinals are struggling for first in the NL Central—they need an extra ingredient, a missing piece, an added spark to their rotation and/or lineup.
Here are a few guys who could fit the bill:
Dan Uggla (.287 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs)
Ty Wigginton (.252 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs)
Dan Haren (7-7 with 4.36 ERA)
Roy Oswalt (6-10 with 3.08 ERA)