Could the St. Louis Cardinals be sellers at the deadline?

The St. Louis Cardinals have fallen on rough times, but when the trade deadline rolls around in a month, what will they be?

When it comes to the trade deadline, it has always felt like a matter of when, not if, the St. Louis Cardinals would add pieces. They have clear needs in both the rotation and bullpen and the Nolan Arenado trade put pressure on the organization to win immediately.

But Jim Bowden of The Athletic recently wrote that the Cardinals … could be sellers? His reasoning, simply, was that the pitching staff may not come together in time for the team to be firmly in the hunt, which when he posted the article Tuesday morning, the Cardinals were 1-9 in their last 10 games and five games back in the National League Central.

It was a fair thought, but with the Cardinals coming off a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins and both the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers getting swept, the Cardinals are now only three games back in the NL Central. It squashed any idea that the team would consider selling, especially with strong performances from starters Adam Wainwright and Johan Oviedo, who have stabilized the rotation (at least for now) with Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas on the injured list.

So when the Cardinals upgrade the roster, their focus will be on pitching. That said, the options will be thin. Very thin. There is no guarantee that the Washington Nationals will trade Max Scherzer. Colorado Rockies pitchers German Marquez and Jon Gray will both be expensive, though Gray is coming off elbow soreness and Marquez is signed for multiple seasons. The top options could be Texas Rangers starter Kyle Gibson, who had a 4.57 career ERA entering this season, and possibly Minnesota Twins right-hander Jose Berrios.

So the Cardinals will have to get creative when looking for upgrades and have even looked at the free-agent market, with Shelby Miller being a player they have had discussions with. But there is no chance the Cardinals sell at the deadline and the sweep of the Marlins all but confirmed that.