Like so many teams, the St. Louis Cardinals have some tweaking to do to improve its roster heading into the final eight weeks of the regular season.
The Cards can win the NL Central without making a major splash, but the team would not really be a playoff power without addressing either its starting pitching or relief corps—or both.
If St. Louis were to acquire either, a guy like Kyle McClellan could return to the bullpen, which is clearly the weakest point of the squad.
Also, one of the biggest closers (both talent-wise and physically)—Heath Bell—will likely be moved before Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline.
General Manager John Mozeliak must sift through a number of possibilities while trying to keep the team's two top pitching prospects, Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, both of whom are playing deep in the minors.
One of the key players who could become an attractive inclusion in any deal is center fielder Colby Rasmus, who has struggled to find a place in the Cardinals lineup.
The Seale, Alabama native is hitting .245 with 11 homers and 40 RBI. After batting .290 in April, he's hit .220 since the beginning of May with 30 RBI.
Rasmus, who turns 25 on August 11, has under-performed and has created a strained relationship with manager Tony La Russa.
Still young, he is considered on the up-slope of his career and could develop into one of the top center fielders in the game.
La Russa rubs some players the wrong way, and Rasmus might benefit from a change of scenery.
The Cardinal skipper said recently that John Jay can be considered his regular center fielder, with a four-man rotation aimed at giving veterans Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday needed days off in the stifling heat of a St. Louis summer.
Mozeliak has denied any specific contact.
Rasmus has twice requested a trade from the team, with the GM denying him both times.
Now, it seems the Cardinals would be better off ridding themselves of a disgruntled player if it helped achieve a stronger overall team.
Jay would be the unquestioned starter in center, and converted second baseman Skip Schumaker could return to an outfield spot as a reserve.
Daniel Descalso seems ready for increased playing time, perhaps at second.
The market for Rasmus is not short, and speculation has him potentially going to a number of destinations all around the country.