The Cardinals now say that David Freese’s broken hand could keep him out of action for as long as three months -- up from the original estimates of a month to six weeks.
So, the question becomes: Can the birds afford to wait for their third sacker -- who was hitting .356 with several clutch hits to his credit -- to get healthy and for their bullpen to right itself or should they go out and try to make a deal for help now?
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Rumors persist that the Cardinals are in the market for bullpen help -- especially for a person who is capable at putting a stop to the revolving door at the closer position. But it would likely take a huge bite out of the young talent the team has finally started to see arrive.
I sincerly doubt that the Redbirds would deal Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn or Eduardo Sanchez for a player who will cost them a lot of money... The club could be in the position of gutting itself of young talent while weakening its flexibility to re-sign Albert Pujols at the same time.
A guy like Jonathan Broxton, who has been on the bubble as the Dodgers closer dating back to last season, would make an attractive target.
He’s 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA. But the bigger concern is that Broxton has allowed nearly 1.8 base runners per inning pitched this season -- and he allowed just shy of 1.5 per inning last season. Those aren’t numbers that seem likely to make anyone forget about Ryan Franklin’s struggles anytime soon. Could Dave Duncan fix whatever it is that made the 26 year old struggle? I don’t know. But it would be a huge gamble to take to trade Mitchell Boggs and/or Jason Motte and a minor leaguer for him.
Mark DeRosa, who signed with the Giants before last season, would be an attractive target to bring back to play third base. But he was already struggling with some injury issues this season when Giants starting third baseman Pablo Sandoval went on the disabled list with a broken bone. If DeRosa was on the market before, he probably isn’t now.
Bottom line is that I think the Cardinals are going to have to stick this one out and let the young arms in the bullpen fight it out for the save chances. And, as far as third base goes, maybe now is the time to see if Allen Craig can do the job at the hot corner. He’s not very good with the glove. But Troy Glaus got it done there once upon a time...
I just hope the Birds don’t start feeling sorry for themselves and making excuses. They still have a middle of the lineup that can’t be matched in the National League Central. And, although it has shown some cracks around the edges the last couple of weeks, the starting rotation is still good enough to keep the club in every game.
The name of the game is keeping this ship afloat until closer to the trade deadline and then trying to do something to help the middle infield and the left side of the bullpen.