Its obvious that the Cardinals could use some help. They lost two out of three to both the Brewers and Cubs before winning the opener against the Braves, bringing their season record to 17-16, 4.5 games behind the Central leading Brewers.
After leading the NL in runs scored last year, the Cardinals currently sit in 10th place with 119 runs in 33 games (3.6 per game). However, don't expect star prospect Oscar Taveras any time soon.
According to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, Taveras is "average at best" in center field and it "makes more sense for him to play everyday" at AAA Memphis. In other words, we are not going to promote him until after the Super Two cutoff in June.
Thus, center field incumbents Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos and even Randal Grichuk have until then to prove themselves worthy of retaining their jobs or one of them will be replaced by Taveras.
The other shaky area for the team is the bullpen, which is 1-5 on the year with 3 blown saves. While guys like Pat Neshek, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Siegrist and Randy Choate have done great jobs setting up for closer Trevor Rosenthal, the back-end of the pen has struggled.
Mike Matheny has been wary of relying on guys like last year's ground ball specialist Seth Maness, as well as rookies Keith Butler and Eric Fornataro, and for good reason. They have combined to go 0-2 with a 6.62 ERA.
However, the light at the end of the tunnel is former closer Jason Motte. Motte struck out the side in his first rehab appearance at AA Springfield on Sunday and will likely need 2-3 more weeks of rehab according to Mozeliak.
If he can regain his form, he can help solidify the bullpen and ease the burden on Neshek, Martinez and Siegrist. He would likely replace rookie Fornataro on the roster.
Finally, after everyone held their collective breath when Jaime Garcia was hit on his left elbow during a rehab outing at AA Springfield on Sunday, it appears to be minor as he will likely pitch off the mound tomorrow and only push back his next start by a few days.
The Cardinals still view Garcia as a starter and its safe to assume that when (or if) he returns, he will be placed in the rotation. Assuming he returns to form, this will allow the team to shift Joe Kelly back to the pen and either allow the team to demote Seth Maness to AAA to get his sinker working again or send Martinez down to stretch him out for starting duty.
In any case, adding Taveras, Motte and Garcia to the mix would certainly help the team and improve the overall depth. However, since its unlikely that all of the 3 will be here before June, we are all just hoping that the team can keep within striking distance of the Brewers until then.