ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said multiple times on Monday that "everything is on the table" as he and manager Mike Matheny seek to jump-start a team that had stumbled out to its worst 12-game start in 29 years.
Mozeliak watched from home this past week with the same frustration and disbelief as many others while the club finished a six-game road trip with one victory. He could find some positives with Monday's crisp, 2-1 win over the Pirates, but that alone won't keep Mozeliak from examining early red flags with the roster he built while understanding that the season is still young.
"When you think about why we are where we are, you could really look at the entire roster," Mozeliak said. "Candidly, it's been a tough go. I think anytime you start off slow, you have a tendency to compound things. Even though you're trying to make things better, you make things worse. I feel like it's not as simple as just pushing one button to fix it. There's not one simple thing to get it right.
"I think the simplest approach would be for everybody to do their job and do it right. And if so, I think we have the talent to be successful. I think this team still has better days ahead of it. But it clearly has to get out of the current lane we're in."
The issues have been numerous and varied. On the pitching end, the Cards entered Monday ranked 29th in the Majors with a 4.98 ERA and 30th with a bullpen ERA of 7.34. Offensively, their team batting average (.212), slugging percentage (.332) and OPS (.626) are all 28th or worse. And on the defensive side, the Cards ranked 26th in defensive efficiency (.671) and last in defensive runs saved (-13).
So where can the Cardinals, who are now sitting at 4-9 on the season, go from here?
"I didn't sleep much last night, so I thought about a lot of things," Mozeliak said before Monday's game. "In terms of personnel moves or roster changes, I don't think there's anything I could go to right now in [Triple-A] Memphis that's necessarily going to directly change the trajectory of this club. But I will say that everything is on the table right now, so if we continue down this path, we may have to do something different."
Even without a roster overhaul, some changes seem to be on tap. Those include limiting the exposure of Matt Adams in left field. Interested in trying to find a way to get Adams' bat in the lineup more frequently, the Cardinals started him in left field four times in the team's first nine games.
But Adams is hardly hitting (4-for-23 with 10 strikeouts) and the defensive sacrifice has been significant.
"I honestly feel like for [Adams] to get playing time in left field, it's a hard place for him to do this in the big leagues," Mozeliak said. "I do think that takes away from our main goal from a defensive standpoint.
"Obviously, our offseason narrative was about defense. It was about being more athletic. We're not living up to that. Obviously, we have to be held accountable for that. That's something we have to take a very hard look at."
In the infield, the patience appears to be running out with Jhonny Peralta, whose strong spring has given way to a 3-for-25 start. He entered Monday still looking for his first extra-base hit.
With Greg Garcia and Jedd Gyorko available as other third-base options, the Cardinals appear to be looking past Peralta to fill the position. Matheny called Peralta before Monday's game to discuss his dwindling playing time and inform him he'd be out of the lineup for a second straight day.
"I hate to sit here and again judge a player simply on this body of work, but it hasn't been good," Mozeliak said of Peralta, who is in the final season of a four-year contract. "When you look at production, it just hasn't been there. I think that's sort of the part that's a little bit of a head-scratcher, because you look at a majority of the players had really strong springs. To have the regular season start and be as flat as we've been or the inability to have success, it's frustrating."
As he continued dissecting the team's start, Mozeliak said he's willing to stay patient with Adam Wainwright's (0-3, 7.24 ERA) and would consider moving Matt Carpenter from first base if that would help the Cardinals put a better product on the field.
"My hope is we don't have to go down that path," Mozeliak said. "But I think everything has to be on the table right now. As I started by saying, this current model isn't working, so if we have to do something different to find ways to win, we have to be open to that."