With the Cardinals making midseason coaching changes for the first time in John Mozeliak's tenure as General Manager, the question now presents itself clearly: how do you fix the on the field product?
Cutting Jhonny Peralta is another step forward in the youth movement, but what about the issues that are clearly nagging the Cards and causing them to lose several games in the past three weeks? For example, how do you fix the beleaguered bullpen?
The answer: promote from within. Look down at Memphis for a sigh of relief, and pick your poison.
Before you grill me for asking Memphis starters to log innings in the bullpen, remember that Mozeliak and the Cardinals prefer "baptism through fire" for their young pitchers, instead of the cuddling effect. Think about Adam Wainwright in 2006, Lance Lynn in 2011, Carlos Martinez in 2013, and Alex Reyes last season. Before they can run, young Cardinals need to walk.
An infusion of youth is what the doctor would prescribe a severely ailing Cardinals team. They can send Sam Tuivailala back up, because he was well before being sent packing, or they can promote a more lethal arm.
Jack Flaherty is tossing absolute filth for the Redbirds right now, striking out 13 batters in just 12 innings for Memphis since being promoted. Don't think the Cards wouldn't make a sudden move like that-because they already promoted outfielder Magneuris Sierra from A ball earlier this season. Desperate times call for desperate measures for the Cardinals right now.
How about Luke Weaver? He's slinging cheddar for Memphis right now (6-1 with a 1.84 ERA), and has ascended after getting a taste of the big leagues last year. After a particular tough start last summer, I asked Weaver about learning something every single appearance in the big leagues, and he said every time he took the mound for the Birds, he learned something. Weaver could come up and relieve pain in the bullpen, and make a spot start for Michael Wacha if needed.
Marco Gonzales could get another shot. He's compiled a 2.97 ERA in six starts, holding hitters to a .212 batting average with a 1.02 WHIP. He has Major League experience, and could grab a few appearances previously allocated for Brett Cecil or Tyler Lyons.
I mean, a reliever from Memphis could be promoted to the team with a jersey reading "Not Cecil" and give fans immediate relief from a stomach ache. It's gotten that dire in St. Louis.
The coaching changes and roster shakeups are a fine touch, but what will the Cardinals do with the new lease? Mike Matheny's seat has to be getting hot, so can he work with the decades of experience that has been dropped on his door step? With Chris Maloney not directing traffic at third base anymore, can the Cards rebound in June or get simply get shot down again? So many questions, but plenty of games to figure it out.
The Cardinals have to reveal to Mozeliak if they can recover this season. Will Mozeliak be buying or selling at the deadline? It depends on how the team reacts to the new personnel.
For the time being, the bullpen could use some shuffling. The lineup could use a surge of destruction-also known as a legit threat-but those aren't easy to come by. Kolten Wong is in the starting lineup tonight, so he will get his shot. Yadier Molina is batting fifth though, so there's a problem.
With Peralta's spot off the 40 man active roster, will Harrison Bader get a call? A shot of youth could help the team on the mound and in the batters box, but don't expect a quick turnaround.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and this team has a potpourri of problems, but at least the rebooting has begun.