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Cardinals face tough decision on David Aardsma

The St. Louis Cardinals may be resistant to promoting top prospect Oscar Taveras from Class AAA Memphis.

But they'll soon have to make a decision on whether to promote another player from their top farm club or let him go.

David Aardsma, signed late in spring training to a contract that would allow him to opt out if he isn't put on the major-league roster by May 15, is pitching well for the Redbirds. He has a 1-0 record with a 1.98 ERA in 13 appearances. He's allowed 10 hits in 13 2/3 innings of work and has racked up three saves. Aardsma has whiffed 12. If he has a downside it's that he's walked seven.

The former Seattle Mariners closer has a 15-17 record with a 4.23 ERA in eight years of MLB service. He's pitched 40 2/3 innings in the big leagues with the Yankees and Mets over the past two seasons after missing all of 2011 with an arm injury.

While there isn't necessarily an obvious opening in St. Louis, I'd hate to see the Cardinals let Aardsma walk because Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn tend to be bullpen killers with their short starts. The Birds are likely to need the depth at some point in the not-too-distant future so they can swap a fresh arm into the mix.

St. Louis was shorthanded in the bullpen Tuesday night and it may have cost them a game against the Atlanta Braves when Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martines and Kevin Siegrist were unavailable due to overuse.

The club is going to have to make room at some point for the return of Jason Motte and potentially Jaime Garcia. But those players are both coming off a significant injury and there's no guarantee that one or both won't have a setback. Once Aardsma is set free, will the Cardinals be able to find a pitcher of his equal should they need one later? And, if so, what would he cost them?