ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak is a perpetually positive man. You'll rarely hear him speak ill of a player. He'll often use euphemisms to downplay any struggles or misfortunes the team has.
These days Mozeliak isn't mincing words when it comes to his team's performance.
"I think we have to be aware that this is not acceptable baseball at this point," Mozeliak said last week in a candid session with the media. "I still think this is a talented club and I still believe in it, but having a belief in something is far different than actually getting it done. I think right now it's still early in the season where you can't hit the panic button. But you've got to see the trend line change a little bit."
Mozeliak isn't alone in this boat. Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny said the team lacks consistency and that "the record might be a little better than what the product looks like."
The Cardinals haven't had a three-game winning streak or a series sweep this season and are now just two games ahead of the third-place Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are one of only four teams (the others being the Braves, Phillies, and Padres) that have scored fewer runs than the Cardinals this season. An anemic offense is almost solely to blame for the less-than-inspiring start to the season, as the pitching staff has allowed fewer runs than all but five teams.
It's hard to point the finger at anyone directly. Matt Adams is batting .300 but cannot hit anything but singles and has a negative WAR. Matt Holliday is getting on base at a .360 clip but is only batting .266 and has just two home runs. Allen Craig's struggles have been well-documented, although his peripheral numbers suggest he is coming around.
While the Cardinals may have a major league quality outfield in Memphis with Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty, and Randall Grichuk, Mozeliak could very easily look for outside help on the infield to turn this team around. Allen Craig's name has been thrown out there in talks recently, and the mutual struggles of Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis make it possible that a new second baseman could be imported at some point this season, possibly Chase Utley of Philadelphia or Rickie Weeks of Milwaukee, who is in the last year of his contract and is finally having a decent offensive output in a part-time role.
Mozeliak would like to keep the group he has together and see them play up to their potential, instead of making a move just to shake the team up.
"I think that it's one of those self-reflection moments," he said. "Players have to look at themselves, the staff needs to look at themselves. We all have to see where we are on this."