ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals came out of the non-waiver Trade Deadline as a club seemingly straddling a line between next year and now.The organization never considered tearing things down, not even as it risks missing the postseason for a third consecutive season. But the Cardinals also did not load
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals came out of the non-waiver Trade Deadline as a club seemingly straddling a line between next year and now.
The organization never considered tearing things down, not even as it risks missing the postseason for a third consecutive season. But the Cardinals also did not load up on Major League-ready help like many clubs currently pursuing postseason berths.
Instead, they turned things over, in large part, to the next wave of young talent.
"Look, we could have done it many different ways," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "We look at our system, and we're just trying to add to it as well as creating opportunity at the Major League level. Not everybody is going to agree with that philosophy. But that's our road map, and we're hopeful it's successful."
The Cardinals insist that a greener group can still keep the Cardinals competitive in the National League Central, where they entered Wednesday trailing by 7 1/2 games, and in an NL Wild Card race in which they were 4 1/2 games back. But this period is also about evaluation. Mozeliak described it as a "peek at the future." It can also be, in essence, a tryout for rungs on next season's depth chart.
"You don't make the changes we've made from a managerial standpoint, hitting-coach standpoint if status quo is good," Mozeliak said. "And clearly, when you look at where we were a year ago and where we were today, it seemed eerily similar. So trying to make some dramatic changes, it felt like we needed to do something."
The Cardinals' wave of change began just before the All-Star break, when manager Mike Matheny and his two hitting coaches were dismissed. Mike Shildt took over as interim manager, and the Cardinals promoted from within to fill the coaching vacancies with Ron "Pop" Warner, Mark Budaska and George Greer.
The transactions have continued with high frequency. Tyler Lyons, Sam Tuivailala, Greg Holland, Luke Voit and Tommy Pham are no longer on the 40-man roster. Matt Bowman is pitching in Triple-A. Brett Cecil and Luke Gregerson are back on the disabled list.
In return, the Cardinals have called up the remainder of their Triple-A Opening Day rotation (Daniel Poncedeleon, Austin Gomber and Dakota Hudson), along with reliever Tyler Webb and outfielder Tyler O'Neill. Chasen Shreve joined as part of the club's trade with the Yankees. Over the last week, the Cardinals have also acquired eight Minor League players
"Why do it now as opposed to the offseason?" Mozeliak said. "It gives you a better idea of what you truly have. Getting a glimpse or getting to see what that future might look like, the timing did feel right."
• Kolten Wong (left knee inflammation) went through his final rehab checkpoints Wednesday and will report to Class A Peoria (Ill.) for a one-day rehab assignment Thursday. He'll then travel to Pittsburgh, where the Cardinals expect to activate the second baseman Friday.
• Dominic Leone began a rehab assignment with one scoreless inning for Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday. He struck out two in the appearance. Leone has been sidelined by right upper arm nerve irritation since May 5.
Shildt began his pregame media session Wednesday by offering condolences to the families of Johnny Lewis and Manny Guerra.
Lewis was a member of the Cardinals' 1964 World Series team and later worked as a coach in the organization's farm system.
Guerra, a longtime scout for the Cardinals, was responsible for signing Pham and also coached Mike Maddux out in Las Vegas. Guerra died Wednesday after a battle with cancer.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.