6 relievers the Cardinals need to target on the trade market

The Cardinals will likely buy at this year's deadline, but don't expect a major splash. One of these right-handed relievers would certaintly help their bullpen.
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The St. Louis Cardinals may have pulled themselves out of the deep pit they were in at the beginning of May, but as the month of June has gone on, they still have not done enough to define themselves as true buyers or sellers in this year's market.

Some of that is timing. There are still six or so weeks until the club really needs to choose a direction for themselves. As we just saw during the middle and end of May, a lot can change in the standings over a few weeks.

Some of that is how weak the National League is this year. A sub-.500 team at this point in the year is not inspiring by any means, but the Cardinals continue to waffle from control of the third Wild Card to just a game or two back. Until some teams in the National League are able to start taking control of those playoff spots, there are a lot of teams who will convince themselves they have a shot, and they are not wrong to think that.

As things currently stand, it feels like the Cardinals will at least lean toward being a buyer and wait to make any "sellers" decisions until this offseason. Even if they go on a run here and truly establish themselves as a playoff team, I doubt we see them do anything aggressive at this deadline either. The Cardinals tend to not be the team that makes huge swings in July, and with how things are looking on the field this year in St. Louis, I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense to entertain a blockbuster move.

The Cardinals' farm system has had some really intriguing bright spots this year, but overall, it remains an area of concern, especially if the club were to take some of the top talent currently in it to flip for a piece or two. Even if those players come with control, it will just mean the Cardinals are parting with even more valuable members of their future to acquire them.

That doesn't mean we can't see the Cardinals make impactful moves though. Think about past trade deadlines. Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery were huge additions to their rotation. Jon Lester and J.A. Happ were not studs by any means, but they were what the Cardinals needed to make a playoff push in 2021. Back in 2011, the Cardinals went out and brought in multiple arms to their bullpen and rotation that did not excite anyone, but it did the trick.

If your hopes are the Cardinals transform themselves into World Series contenders this year, any hope of that is mostly going to need to come from within. But the Cardinals can use the trade deadline to improve their team in meaningful ways, with one of the most obvious ways coming through adding another right-handed reliever to their mix.

The Cardinals bullpen has been a real strength for this club this year, but with the club having clear weaknesses elsewhere, they need their bullpen to be as airtight as possible in order to continue locking down games day in and day out.

The left side of the bullpen is about as strong as it can be with JoJo Romero, Matthew Liberatore, and John King. If the Cardinals wanted to add another left-hander to the mix, I don't think anyone would complain, but the true need right now is depth on the right side, especially after a number of injuries to that group. Keynan Middleton is done for the year. Riley O'Brien, Giovanny Gallegos, and Nick Robertson all are working their way back from their own injuries.

Here are six different relievers the Cardinals could look to target at this year's trade deadline in order to upgrade their bullpen.