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Cardinals look to rebound after All-Star break

After bouncing back from a rough May, St. Louis enters the second half at .500 as Trade Deadline buyers
@anne__rogers
July 10, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have made it to the All-Star break at 44-44 insisting that the team is better than what the record says. After a hot start to the season, the Cardinals struggled through May and started climbing their way back in June. The final two series before

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have made it to the All-Star break at 44-44 insisting that the team is better than what the record says. After a hot start to the season, the Cardinals struggled through May and started climbing their way back in June.

The final two series before the All-Star break, against Seattle and San Francisco, showed the Cardinals’ potential. The offense revived itself against Seattle and saw bursts of energy against the Giants to pick up a rotation that wasn’t making it deep into games. But on Sunday, Jack Flaherty pitched a one-run, seven-inning outing, and the offense couldn’t get anything going against the Giants.

The team that shows up after the break will factor into the moves the Cardinals might make at the July 31 Trade Deadline.

Current status: Buyers

Right now, the Cardinals are a .500 team, and while that’s not a record they expected to be at, there is good news: They’re still in the race. Two games back of the Cubs and a 1/2 game back of the Brewers is not a bad place to be sitting in early July.

The Cubs and Brewers are likely to be buyers come the Trade Deadline, both hoping to separate the gap in the division. The Cardinals will have to make a significant move at the Deadline to contend this year instead of missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

What they are seeking

A consistent starter and a bat will help this team win. That could come internally: Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter have yet to be the Goldschmidt and Carpenter the Cardinals want them to be. And Flaherty has shown flashes of being the starter the Cardinals need, but he isn’t as consistent as some had hoped.

It doesn’t make sense for the Cardinals to go find a productive bat at the Deadline because both Goldschmidt and Carpenter have historically produced well in the second half. If they get back to hitting like themselves, the offense could get going like it did in the beginning of the season. So the Cardinals are better off seeking a frontline starter to bring consistency to the rotation.

What they have to offer

Michael Wacha will be interesting to watch these next few weeks. The right-hander has excelled in the past but is struggling this year on the cusp of free agency. How he performs in his starts leading up to July 31 will figure into if teams are inclined to go after him and open a spot in the Cardinals rotation.

No. 19 prospect Junior Fernandez has pitched his way through the Minor League system this year and recently made it to Memphis with a 1.48 ERA in 48 2/3 innings this season. Alvaro Seijas is a little further away from the big leagues but has done well lately, too. Rival front offices will ask about outfielder Randy Arozarena, but with a .349/.434/.538 slash line this year in Springfield and Memphis, Cardinals will more likely want to keep him.

Possible scenario

If the Cardinals go for a frontline starter, right-handers Trevor Bauer or Zack Wheeler could be options.

The Indians could end up being buyers at the Trade Deadline after their June run. But if they do end up fielding offers on Bauer, they’ll be looking for Major League-ready young talent who can hit the ball. The Cardinals could offer impact hitters who are hitting their way through the Minors and pushing to be looked at for the Majors. The Mets are looking to compete next year and would want the best available pitching prospects for Wheeler -- or whoever they deal away -- and the Cardinals have a few who are close to being ready for the Majors.

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.