Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bullpen Remains Chief Concern for Cardinals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bullpen Remains Chief Concern for Cardinals

Article excerpt

MIAMI * The versatile roster that has provided the Cardinals needed depth and a variety of positions for several players also, according to the manager, complicates how they look at the trade deadline.

"This year, in particular, for us you look around and there is not a lot of things that we would do," Mike Matheny said. "You look at the three players we have coming back here soon and they're all front-line guys. Knowing that we do have some talent out there when you talk about an Alex (Reyes). Those things all play into whether you start mortgaging the future to bring somebody in. Where can you make improvements? We've got a pretty deep, solid team."

It's about to get somewhat deeper as a parade of players could return to the majors in the coming week. Matt Carpenter (oblique) is set to start a rehab assignment Sunday at Class AA Springfield. Brandon Moss (ankle) is already playing for Class AA Springfield, and he'll join the Cardinals in Cincinnati on Tuesday. Jhonny Peralta (thumb) could arrive with Moss depending on how he looks during batting practice and workouts Saturday with the major-league team.

The bullpen, however, remains an area of concern.

General manager John Mozeliak has positioned himself at the team's spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla., for the weekend, and he remains on the hunt for relief help. Mozeliak reiterated Friday what's been reported and obvious for a month: Relievers remain his "biggest focus." Although he declined to offer specifics, he said the team has "a couple things that we're pursuing."

The Tampa Bay Rays reportedly had a scout attend Luke Weaver's start for Class AA Springfield on Thursday, and the Rays could offer a reliever like closer Alex Colome, who would come with several years of control. The Cardinals have also considered the available relievers in Arizona, Milwaukee, with the Angels, and several other teams. There is a thicket of setup-tier relievers, from Will Smith to Joe Smith, and the possibility as Monday's deadline approaches of few surefire relievers like Wade Davis moving. That is the spot where Mozeliak has found himself considering the high cost of relievers while weighing the benefit of a rental vs. …

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