St. Louis Cardinals exploring options to make late-season push

St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt watches his two-run home run during the second inning of...
St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt watches his two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Saturday, July 16, 2022, in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 12:08 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (WFIE) - With the MLB All-Star break now complete, the second half of the 2022 season is officially underway, and one team hoping to make a big second-half splash is the St. Louis Cardinals.

At this point, the Cardinals (50-44) sit only a half-game out of first place in the NL Central, as they prepare to face the Cincinnati Reds in a three-game series beginning on Friday.

In an exclusive interview, 14 Sports spoke with Cardinals Insider Tom Ackerman, who’s the sports director at KMOX radio in St. Louis.

Looking at the Cardinals’ schedule moving forward, Ackerman says the franchise should be in a solid position leading up to the postseason.

“The second portion of the season’s actually very favorable for them schedule-wise,” Ackerman said. “About 70% of their opponents are losing records. They get to play games with a lot of built-in days off, so that’s a nice thing for their rotation. They just need to be healthy in their rotation. They need pitchers that can go deep into games, put the ball in play, get outs and then let the bullpen finish from there.”

One question mark haunting St. Louis is the pitching rotation and the need for consistency. Ackerman told 14 Sports that while the Cardinals have reliable pitchers in Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas, taking advantage of the MLB trade deadline could be one way to add to their rotation.

“There’s a lot of what ifs and we’ll sees,” Ackerman said. “I think if they’re going to be great, they’ve got to acquire a pitcher by the deadline or figure out internally who that pitcher is. Otherwise good ballclub, they have good offense – somewhat inconsistent but a good-looking lineup and a defense I think is second to none.”

With the trade deadline comes speculation, and one name in particular that has been thrown around quite a bit is Washington Nationals left-handed power hitter Juan Soto, who shared a special moment with Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols following the Home Run Derby on Monday. Ackerman says while Soto would be a major asset to the franchise, he’s not sure that St. Louis will end up going that route.

“Well it would be fun to have both,” Ackerman said. “It would be fun to have both a pitcher or two and Juan Soto – everybody’s looking for starting pitching, number one. And number two, there will be a lot of teams going after Juan Soto, and I think you’ve probably heard in the national news a lot of speculation, the Cardinals have been mentioned a lot.”

Ackerman says St. Louis certainly has the pieces to pull off a deal for Soto by the Aug. 2 trade deadline, but the chances of one being made seem unlikely at this time.

“It’s a natural thing, I mean the Cardinals have seven of the top 100 prospects in baseball, no team has more than that,” Ackerman said. “So, therefore, you could draw the conclusion that the Cardinals have the ability to make any kind of trade they want. I think the more realistic thing is the Cardinals will do what they do, they will find a pitcher that needs a change of scenery that can eat up some innings and maybe a couple of [pitchers].”

Ackerman says the Cardinals could stay on brand, but having the 23-year-old phenom in the lineup along with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado could add some fuel to a late-season push before playoff time rolls around in October.

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