The Cardinals ended the month of June with an uninspiring 14-14 record.
The main culprit has been the once reliable starting pitching. After dominating for two months, all of the starters, save for Adam Wainwright, posted ERA's above 4.00 during June.
But the pitching isn't the only thing that should shoulder the blame. The offense has also been inconsistent, often showing a feast or famine tendency.
Its obvious that the Cards could use a spark to get them rolling again, but from where?
Here are the possibilities:
With the calendar turning to July, the trade market is sure to pick up. If the Cardinals want to help their beleaguered starting rotation, there are plenty of starters on the market.
However, two of the top sellers of starting pitching at this year's deadline reside in the NL Central (the Cubs and Brewers) and the Cards have said that trading within the division is "not desirable".
The Marlins have made Ricky Nolasco available and the Astros have Bud Norris on the block, but is either one enough to provide the boost the Cardinals need?
The Cards could always go "all-in" and trade for the Phillies' Cliff Lee, but it would likely gut their farm system in the process. Would the Cardinals mortgage their future for Lee?
The most obvious way to spark the Cardinals offense would be to replace the struggling John Jay with Oscar Taveras. However, Taveras has been dealing with an ankle injury for the last month and currently resides on the 7-day D.L. Once healthy, he could be a viable option later this month.
Another possibility is to call up Carlos Martinez for the starting rotation and put Lance Lynn in the bullpen. Lynn appears to be going through the same mid-season funk that he did last year, posting a 4.83 ERA in June. However, despite his struggles, he has still managed to go 3-1 for the month.
Martinez could also be used to replace Jake Westbrook in the rotation. Westbrook had the worst month of any starter still in the rotation, posting a 5.32 ERA while going 2-2 in his 4 starts. Westbrook could possibly then be used as a trade chip with another contending team.
My guess is that the Cardinals will just make minor trades here or there, either adding an arm for the bullpen or finding a right handed bat for the bench and hope that the regulars get back on track. But, if the team's struggles continue through July, don't be surprised to see Taveras or Martinez called up by the end of the month.