The St. Louis Cardinals have some major needs as the deadline approaches, mainly on the pitching side, with the bullpen and starters.
The Cardinals offense has been hit with some injuries to big names this season (Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday twice, David Freese, Nick Punto twice, Allen Craig, Gerald Laird and Skip Schumaker) and yet they are still near the top of the division—only a 1.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers.
For Albert Pujols and the Cardinals, it would be in their best interest to make an acquisition that could put them on top of the NL Central.
This season, James Shields is 8-8 with 145 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.60, so the record is a reflection on the team's lack of run support.
The Cincinnati Reds have been reportedly linked to Shields, which would not be good for the Cardinals or the rest of the NL Central. Shields is under contract for three more years. He would be a great addition to the Cardinals rotation, joining Carpenter, Garcia, Westbrook and Lohse.
For the Cardinals to acquire Shields they would more than likely be trading Colby Rasmus, who hasn't been playing much lately because of his lack of production. Getting James Shields in a Cardinals uniform would easily make them favorites in the NL Central.
For the Cardinals to acquire Upton from the Rays, they would be trading Rasmus, no questions asked. Based on his performance this season and what some reports have said, that wouldn't be an issue.
According to mlbtraderumors.com Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says he's "not shopping" his center fielder and insists that a deal remains "highly unlikely." Upton is having a sub-par year in terms of average (23 points lower than his career average). Other than that, Upton is having a good season with 47 runs, 15 home runs, 52 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.
If the Cardinals were to get Upton, the stolen bases would be a major boost for them. A change of scenery may be what Upton needs.
The Cardinals have had major problems with their bullpen this season and getting Heath Bell as their closer would be a major boost for their relief pitching.
Bell notched his 28th save of the season on July 21, which could be one of the last few for him with there only being 10 days left until the deadline. Bell is having another good season in San Diego with a 2-3 record, 28 saves, 30 Ks and a 2.45 ERA.
For the Cardinals to get Bell, they would have to give up more than they would want to unless the Padres lower their price. So a trade involving the Cardinals and the Padres for Bell is unlikely, as bad as they need him.
Tyler Clippard is having another fantastic year in Washington. This season, Clippard has an ERA of 1.76 and 71 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched. Tyler Clippard would be way cheaper than Heath Bell, so he would be more plausible for the Cardinals. Clippard would be easier and cheaper for the Cardinals to get if the Washington Nationals make him available.
Jon Rauch is having another good season north of the border in Toronto. Toronto has a plethora of good arms in their bullpen. So it's up to the team trying to trade with them to choose if they want one with a bigger contract or a smaller one. This season, Rauch is 4-3 with seven saves and an ERA of 3.95. Adding Rauch to the Cardinals bullpen would be a boost and should help the Cardinals out dramatically.
If the Cardinals were to go out and trade for a hitter over the next 10 days, I would be shocked. The Cardinals main need is arms, either in the bullpen or a starter where they would move Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen.
Feel free to comment, I want to know what everyone thinks. Let me know who I left off this list or who they shouldn't go after who is on this list.