A year later, the St. Louis Cardinals are in the same position.
As the trade deadline approached in 2011, the Cardinals' needs were defined: a starting pitcher and bullpen help.
They connected with the Toronto Blue Jays in a late-July trade that landed Edwin Jackson for the rotation, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel for the bullpen and Corey Patterson for outfield depth.
All it cost the Cardinals was enigmatic outfielder Colby Rasmus, who clearly needed a fresh start, and three pitchers we may never hear from again: Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters.
It was a steal of a deal.
The Cardinals went 45-23 (.662) from that point, and would not have won their 11th World Series championship without the contributions of Jackson, Rzepczynski and Dotel.
Sure, Jackson moved on to the Washington Nationals and Dotel signed with the Detroit Tigers in the offseason. So what? The Cardinals had their title.
As the Cardinals meander around the .500 mark this summer, their first under manager Mike Matheny, what are the team's needs?
To begin with, health. The extended losses of Lance Berkman, Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Kyle McClellan can't be understated. All were expected to be key pieces to the puzzle.
Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday have been banged up, too, although they've managed to avoid the disabled list. Rookie Matt Carpenter, an early season sensation, hasn't been so lucky.
The Cardinals, if they want to stay in playoff contention, must be proactive, particularly as it relates to starting pitching.
They can't wait for Chris Carpenter and Garcia to rejoin the rotation. There are no guarantees they will. Even if they do, how effective can they realistically be?
General Manager John Mozeliak must be on the prowl for starting pitchers, preferably two of them.
The Cardinals already have tapped into their thin starting pitching depth in the minor leagues, hoping Joe Kelly can plug a hole. Predictably, early results have been mixed.
Top pitching prospect Shelby Miller has been a bust at Class AAA Memphis, tempering the optimism that this would be the breakthrough year in his development.
Kyle Lohse and Lance Lynn are having strong seasons, but Adam Wainwright still isn't Adam Wainwright. And Jake Westbrook, after a solid beginning, is 2-4 with a 5.67 ERA in his last eight starts, despite his gem Wednesday in Detroit.
It will be interesting to see whether the Cardinals are willing to do business with one of their National League Central rivals, where three of the most coveted starting pitchers reside.
I'm guessing not. Regardless, Mozeliak should at least make inquiries to the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs have Ryan Dempster, 35, and Matt Garza, 28, on the block. Either one would greatly bolster the Cardinals' rotation.
However, Dempster (3-3, 2.11 ERA) was placed on the disabled list Monday with tightness in the lat muscle under his right shoulder --an injury that isn't considered serious.
Dempster, who had thrown 22 consecutive scoreless innings before being sidelined, would cost less than Garza (3-5, 4.07 ERA) and conceivably would be easier to sign beyond this season.
The Cubs want to stockpile prospects in their latest rebuilding project and no doubt would ask for Miller and others for Garza.
All this probably is frivolous talk, considering the Cardinals and Cubs have not made a trade with one another since August 2002 and have made just two deals in the last 32 years.
Defending NL Central champion Milwaukee, struggling to find footing in the race, could decide to make available former Cy Young Award-winner Zack Greinke, 28, since negotiations have stalled on a long-term contract.
Greinke (7-2, 3.10 ERA), like Dempster and Garza, is signed only through this season. He would provide a huge lift to the Cardinals.
A handful of other pitchers also might tempt Mozeliak, including Cole Hamels, Joe Saunders and Jeremy Guthrie.
Mozeliak also needs to add a left-handed reliever. Rzepczynski is battling issues with his once-baffling curveball and hasn't been as effective as last season. Sam Freeman has struggled in his rookie season, and there are no other in-house candidates.
If it all sounds familiar, it should. It's 2011 all over again. What's left to see is whether Mozeliak hits another home run.