The Cardinals have pitched their way into a small but relevant chance at getting into the thick of the N.L. Central race. Chicago has left the door open for a team to get hot and put pressure on the division leading Cubs. St.Louis starting pitching has kept the club afloat and the overall staff E.R.A. is the second best in the National League. The bullpen has stabilized by allowing Trevor Rosenthal to close games and putting guys in familiar roles. This club has pitched more than well enough to be at the top of the division, the offense has scuffled and left the team searching for a .500 record.
What are the internal options?
The 2017 team has played lineup roulette all season. Put a guy in a certain spot and see if they can take it and run. Jedd Gyorko has been the clean-up hitter a majority of the year, but is showing major signs of fatigue. Stephen Piscotty is close to having this year become a lost cause. Randall Grichuk has shown at times that he will be a major contributor but also show signs to revert back to his high strikeout ways.
Tommy Pham had continued to be the best player on the team and Jose Martinez has been a bright spot in limited opportunity. Dexter Fowler is due to return from the disabled list this week and will be put back into the middle of the order. All of these options seem like more shuffling of the deck chairs and make it hard to believe that this offense will be something it hasn’t been all season.
Moves are still possible
Offensive upgrades at the trade deadline never materialized for the Cardinals. Position players were in short supply as only two were traded at the deadline on Monday. That hasn’t stopped teams from acquiring bats after clearing waivers this month. The Pirates reacquired Sean Rodriguez this week to add a veteran for the stretch run. Pittsburgh is currently in fourth place in the division but is still trying to position themselves for a possible run.
The Cardinal offense has so many question marks and would have to have a ton of things fall into place to actually improve. Piscotty or Grichuk could potentially catch fire, but we’ve waited four months for that to happen. Martinez should get an extended look, but could potentially be exposed. There are numerous veteran bats available on the market right now. Some are close to free agency, some will come with money remaining on multiyear contacts. The organization should step out of the comfort zone and strike while they are still relevant in the division race.
We all know that the club wont make a move just to make a move. They also highly value their prospects and will hold on to any top-level guys. That will limit the opportunities they have to make a move for a bat. This club could take on money and could afford deals involving minor league assets.
Help is available
Whether they like it or not, the top teams in the central have given them opportunities to fight for a playoff spot. The pitching staff has performed well enough to deserve a chance to compete in October. The players know they need help and a new face in the clubhouse could be the shakeup they require. Help is out there if only management would take a chance and pursue it.
Thank you for reading.