ST. LOUIS -- There are no shortage of questions and concerns surrounding the Cardinals, after they tumbled back to six games under .500 with a series loss in Baltimore. Here are my answers to a few of them:• Submit a question to the Cardinals Inbox
ST. LOUIS -- There are no shortage of questions and concerns surrounding the Cardinals, after they tumbled back to six games under .500 with a series loss in Baltimore. Here are my answers to a few of them:
• Submit a question to the Cardinals Inbox
The Cardinals could definitely dangle starter Lance Lynn or closer Seunghwan Oh, both of whom will be free agents after the season. Look for interest in Trevor Rosenthal to be particularly high, as he could step in as a closer for plenty of other teams, and is under team control through '18, which increases his value.
Truly, there are very few players who should be off limits, which could put the Cardinals in the unusual position of taking offers on players they once thought would be part of their long-term core.
Let's start with the second part of that -- the how. The biggest weakness for the club has been its inability to play well in all facets of the game at the same time. When the rotation was strong early, the bullpen and offense were searching. Now that the offense has started to show some life, the rotation has regressed. This team isn't talented enough to not be clicking in all areas, and that's shown.
Now, can they get there? It's possible, yes. But the turnaround is going to have to happen soon, and it's going to have to be led by the rotation. The Cardinals' offense and bullpen aren't built to carry even an average rotation at this point.
As things stand now, I have a hard time envisioning the Cardinals going all-in for a run this year. This roster seems too flawed to be fixed by one or two midseason moves. Perhaps the more prudent approach would be to explore the trade market for deals that could improve this club for 2018 and beyond.
In short, Adam Wainwright will get more opportunities than Michael Wacha to try and figure things out. The Cardinals were already considering alternative options for Wacha's rotation spot this week, so I'd imagine that one more poor start likely initiates a change. Since opening the season with seven straight six-plus-inning starts, Wacha has an 8.86 ERA in five outings. His history of shoulder problems adds to the worries.
Wainwright has been no better, allowing 20 earned runs in his last 10 1/3 innings. But he wouldn't be as easy to fit into the bullpen, and the Cardinals believe Wainwright's track record makes the right-hander deserving of a longer leash.
Probably, though we'll never know exactly how Reyes would have fared in his sophomore season. It's unlikely he would have opened the season in the rotation given the strong spring Wacha had, but Reyes could have made a substantial impact in the bullpen during its tumultuous April. And his services as a starter could certainly be used now. Reyes' availability would have given the Cardinals increased flexibility.
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.