KMOX, St. Louis–As Major League Baseball heads to the July 31st trade deadline there are plenty of different areas the Cardinals could go to improve their ball club. I think we can all agree that this years team has as much character as we have seen in some time. But they are flawed. And while it’s impossible for the organization to go out and fill every need, here’s my list of what I think the Cardinals need in order of importance.
1) Left-handed reliever. For whatever reason Trever Miller just isn’t the same pitcher that we’ve seen the last couple of years and I don’t think there’s much confidence in the other two lefties on the roster. As we all know left-handed relief pitchers are unique and not easy to get. It may be difficult to try to pry one from another team, but the Cards have to find someone. My suggestion here is to take a flyer on Brian Fuentes. The guys numbers this year are bad, but if there’s any pitcher coach in the big leagues that can get a pitcher to recapture his talents it’s Dave Duncan. The bigger question is if the Cards would be willing to take on the salary.
2) Starting pitcher. This may be the best option for the Cardinals. If they can find a capable starter to bring some consistency to the rotation then the middle relief would get some help in the form of Kyle McClellan.
3) Closer. A veteran closer to help out Fernando Salas certainly would be nice, but the price the team would have to pay may be too steep for the Cards. Padres closer Heath Bell has been mentioned for months, but there is a lot of competition for his services if San Diego is willing to part with Bell. Plus, Salas has done a terrific job since having the role handed to him. But having that veteran presence would be a nice luxury.
4) Shortstop. Ryan Theriot I think has been a positive for this team. While I like his bat, there are too many errors being committed at the position. Plus, Theriot doesn’t even have the range. Sliding Ryan to second would be best for him and the team. And finding a slick fielding shortstop to help the groundball pitching staff would be a bonus.
5) Veteran bench player. One of the many things I admired about Whitey Herzog’s clubs is that his team always had a strong bench. Especially guys who could come to the plate and deliver the big late inning pinch hit. Guys like Steve Braun and Dane Iorg were so valuable to the Redbirds success in the 80’s. While I really like how the young guys have come in and produced this year, a guy that can come off the bench in a critical situation that has been there before could go a long way in helping this team make a run to the playoffs.
Scott Warmann is a host on the Sports Hub