Offensive upgrade from trade market unlikely

Offensive upgrade from trade market unlikely

SAN DIEGO -- Though the Cardinals' primary objective was to add a starting pitcher in advance of Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, general manager John Mozeliak also has considered all sorts of creative ways to improve the offense. He's yet to find a solution.

The Cardinals, projected before the season to have one of the National League's most prolific lineups, have underachieved greatly through two-thirds of the season. The unit entered Wednesday last in the NL in homers (68), 14th in runs scored (386) and 12th in slugging percentage (.372).

Yet, with a shortage of available impact hitters and no obvious position to put one, the Cardinals are unlikely to find a boost from the outside.

"We certainly have thought about how we can do that, and I just don't think there are a lot of opportunities out there at this point," Mozeliak said. "You're just not hearing a lot of names from the offensive standpoint being bantered about. And fit, yeah, that is a concern. It's complicated. I feel like we have thought long and hard about this, but we have not come up with a viable solution."

The Cardinals' need for more offense is one reason, too, why the club has been hesitant to consider including top prospect Oscar Taveras in a deal for a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Taveras, who will be under team control for another six seasons, is the player other teams want to include as the centerpiece of a big deal. The Cardinals are wary of parting with their right fielder of the future, unless they were to receive a substantial return.

"Our expectations are for a return that probably very few people could have stomached," Mozeliak said. "But the other part of trading somebody like Oscar would be: What is our next closest Oscar? Here we're looking at a team that has been struggling for offense, trying to get it going, and you're trying to take away a piece that may be a key component of your offense down the road, I think, is a little concerning as well. [We're] not just focused on this year, but out years."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.