ST. LOUIS -- On the heels of a disappointing 2-4 homestand, the Cardinals now prepare for a 10-game road trip that will take them through Milwaukee, San Francisco and San Diego. It begins the final 32-game stretch, and the Cards have some work to do if they want to extend
ST. LOUIS -- On the heels of a disappointing 2-4 homestand, the Cardinals now prepare for a 10-game road trip that will take them through Milwaukee, San Francisco and San Diego. It begins the final 32-game stretch, and the Cards have some work to do if they want to extend their season. In the meantime, plenty of questions remain. Let's take a look at a few of them in this latest Inbox:
With Jedd Gyorko hitting the 10-day DL with a hamstring issue and Aledmys Diaz showing a willingness to explore third base, why was Luke Voit called up? Do president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and general manager Michael Girsch want to see more from Diaz?
-- Aaron D., Richmond, Va.
Diaz has been moving around the infield for the past two weeks with Triple-A Memphis, trying to enhance his versatility. The issue, though, continues to be on the offensive side. His offensive numbers for Memphis are almost identical to what they were in St. Louis. Through Sunday, Diaz had a .299 on-base percentage and .389 slugging percentage in 39 games.
:: Submit a question to the Cardinals Inbox ::
Voit got the nod on Sunday because the Cardinals believe he will bring a more impactful bat. And for a club that has averaged 3.9 runs per game while losing six of its past eight, the Cards need whatever offensive boost they can get. Do look for Diaz, though, to be among the players joining the Cardinals when rosters expand in September.
The Cardinals are intrigued by the season that Patrick Wisdom has had at Memphis -- 29 homers, 84 RBIs and 30 multihit games will put you on anyone's radar -- but bringing Wisdom to St. Louis comes with the added complication of having to create space for him on the 40-man roster. Those roster spots are precious, not only because the Cards have other players they plan to add when rosters expand on Friday, but also because they will have prospects they need to protect this fall from the Rule 5 Draft. If Wisdom does not get the call, that will be why.
Those susceptible to losing their spot on the 40-man roster likely include Sean Gilmartin, Mike Mayers, Alex Mejia and Breyvic Valera.
How many of those spots the Cardinals want to turn over will play a role in who gets that September summons. Fans have been clamoring for players like Sandy Alcantara, Tyler O'Neill, Wisdom, Jack Flaherty, Austin Gomber and Dakota Hudson to be called up to the Majors. To do so with any of these players, though, would require a corresponding 40-man roster decision.
What is the future of Tyler Lyons? Do you see the Cardinals keeping him as a reliever next year, or will he get a chance to be a starter?
-- Nick B.
After multiple seasons of fluctuating between roles, Lyons appears to have found his ideal fit. The Cardinals are going to have plenty of holes to fill in their bullpen next year, and Lyons can plug one of them. With Trevor Rosenthal expected to miss at least the majority of the 2018 season, and two other relievers -- Seunghwan Oh and Zach Duke -- likely to leave via free agency, Lyons will still be a late-inning need.
I have no problems with the front office. Looking at Mozeliak's tenure and accomplishments is incredible. But this past year has been full of moves (or lack thereof) that are certainly questionable ones. The fans really have no clue as to what direction the club is going, and I'm hoping they are gearing up for 2018 or, better yet, '19 with next year's free-agent class. I was wondering if you could help clear some things up as to what direction they are going?
-- Trent M., Edwardsville, Ill.
Whether the Cardinals wanted this to be or not, it has evolved into a transition year for the organization. They have tried to remain competitive throughout it, but we've also seen a hesitancy for this front office to go all in (see: inactivity at the non-waiver Trade Deadline) because of this group's lack of positive traction.
The organization is cognizant of the fact that it needs widespread roster change this offseason in order to position itself better for 2018. But the shopping list is long and complex, which means this may take more than one offseason to fix. Regardless, the Cards are going to have to be aggressive. They're going to have to be willing to part with young talent to address needs through trades. And they're going to have to perhaps push to an uncomfortable level when it comes to financial commitments while trying to lure prospective free agents.
This sets up to potentially be the most active, most intriguing and most critical offseason St. Louis had in several years.
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.