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The Cardinals start revising their roster

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The Cardinals' roster looks now like it's going to look for the rest of the season, in general; from the moment they decided on offense over defense, and lost Adam Wainwright for the year, this team had a shape, and to change it now would involve the kind of desparate-at-worst midseason trading they have no particular reason to make.

But with the losses mounting I'm glad they've begun working at the margins. Miguel Batista was pitching badly, but the big problem about his bad pitching was that if he'd finally put things together the upside wouldn't even have been Ryan Franklin--it would just be Miguel Batista, somewhere in the vicinity of replacement level. I'd still like to see Jess Todd in the bullpen to attempt to stabilize it somewhere in the vicinity of adequacy, but Lance Lynn's new high-fastball routine seems pretty well-suited to a short stint in the bullpen.

Meanwhile, a spot on the 40-man roster opens up--at least temporarily. Bryan Augenstein has been rehabbing for a few days now, making relief-sized appearances, and at some point he'll have to be brought onto the roster lest the Cardinals risk losing him to some other bargain-hunting team. (After a close-up look at his fastball out of the bullpen--and with Lynn the official long reliever in the bullpen--I'm not sure I or the Cardinals would mind the risk, depending on what they planned to do with that last spot in his stead.)

Batista in the bullpen wouldn't have sunk the Cardinals by himself, but the team had some problems, of roster flexibility and of bullpen composition and of the utterly depressing idea of that bullpen even if all members performed at their best, and they solved all of them without expending any resources. I don't think John Mozeliak is in a position to fix this team midseason, if it is in fact broken, but he could do some good things in the revision process.

Next on the list--shoring up the infield, which is not at all difficult given the erosion the Cardinals have experienced there all year. Nick Punto is a few days away from replacing Pete Kozma, which should go part of the way toward dealing with Tyler Greene's total offensive collapse; David Freese will go the rest of the way by setting Daniel Descalso free.

With Lance Berkman otherwise engaged for the next four to six weeks the Cardinals will at least be able to gain some ground on defense, where the difference between Berkman and Jay is probably greater than the difference between Berkman and Pujols.

It's the rotation that defies revision. Tony La Russa has flatly denied the flatly La Russian move, which would be to throw Kyle McClelaln into the closer's role and bring Lance Lynn out as the fifth starter, and the next potential move in the farm system, bringing Shelby Miller up at 20, isn't revision at all--it's introducing a new hero at a moment's notice, with the distinct possibility that he will have to return anticlimactically to his home planet sometime in August.  

This rotation causes the anxiety that it does because we're in the awkward position of waiting for Chris Carpenter's luck to even out while we also wait for Kyle Lohse and Kyle McClellan's luck to even out. It could get better if Carpenter's results begin to match his peripherals, or if Jake Westbrook's command returns, but if we're going to hope for that we might as well hope for Lohse to continue to pitch like Carpenter.