Cheap Seats

Help wanted.

Jaime Garcia has pitched above and beyond the call of duty this season.

It's hard to remember he's only a rookie when his 8-4 record with a 2.27 ERA could have justified a spot on the National League All-Star Game roster. With a little bit of offensive help earlier this season, Garcia's record would be even better. It wouldn't be hard to imagine him with an 11-2 mark.

His stellar pitching -- he's only had two bad games all year -- has kept the Cardinals in the pennant race while Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse are camped out on the disabled list.

That being said, his rough outing Friday night is further proof that the Redbirds MUST trade for a pitcher -- and soon.

I really thought Brad Penny would be a quick fix and that he's miss a couple of starts with his back strain before getting back in business. But his injury has lingered on and it has put an inordinate amount of stress on Garcia as he tries to work with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright to try to hold the rotation together.

It has been a concern all season that Garcia was going to be limited -- no matter how well he pitched -- by his endurance. The guy is a year removed from Tommy John surgery and he hasn't pitched a full season in two years. Is it realistic to expect him to throw 200 innings? Hardly.

Penny and Lohse were going to have to come back and pick up the slack for the Cardinals to keep it up all season. And we know that's probably not going to happen. At least not in time to make a difference. Meanwhile, Carpenter has shown a few dents in his armor with a trio of bad games before the All-Star Break.

The Cardinals just have too many red flags in their rotation not to try to add some help through a trade.

They don't have to have Roy Oswalt or Danny Haren to be their best pitcher in the post season. They need a good number three type starter who can take the ball every five days and give the team a chance to win. Maybe someone more like Brett Myers or Ted Lilly.

We've been spoiled by the first two games of the second half because the Birds have put up big run totals. But the difference between being a good team and an average team is the back end of the rotation.