The Cardinals have been on a tear the passed month. These five moves could help them stay atop the NL Central division.

The St. Louis Cardinals got off to a painfully slow start the first two weeks of the season, but they have been on fire ever since. During their last 24 games, they have compiled an 18-6 record which has helped them take hold of the NL Central.

Predictably, no team in the majors has a better record than the Cardinals during their recent torrid stretch. Although the wins have been coming in bunches lately, the injuries have been coming just as often. The Cardinals outfield has been hit hard with injuries with Stephen Piscotty hitting the disabled-list, and Dexter Fowler’s shoulder still not right, per FS Midwest.

Fortunately the Cardinals have had a few in house replacements to help their outfield in the interim, but they may benefit from a trade at that position. The bullpen has also struggled in the early going, as Miguel Socolovich, Brett Cecil, Jonathan Broxton, and Kevin Siegrist all sport an ERA over 4.10. St. Louis could also benefit from potentially changing some players defensive positions.

Mike Matheny has done an exceptional job dealing with the Cardinals injuries and bullpen deficiencies to this point. With that said, they have been fortunate that their rival, the Chicago Cubs have been experiencing a World-Series hangover and currently sit 3.5 games back from the Cardinals in their division. Here are five moves for Matheny and Cardinals GM John Mozeliak to consider to keep their division lead, and the Cubs at bay.

5. Trade for a backup 1B/3B

Carpenter has been one of the Cardinals best hitters over the last few seasons, and remains one of the more productive infielders in the majors. He has played multiple positions for the team, including first base, second base, and third base. Although he is typically a solid fielder, his experience at first base hasn’t gone particularly well. Carpenter has committed five fielding errors at first base this season, which is tied for most in the majors at that position.

It may be time to switch Carpenter back to the hot corner, where he played some solid defense. Current third baseman Jedd Gyorko is also very versatile, and has experience playing every infield position. However, St. Louis doesn’t have much depth behind them. Acquiring a backup first baseman, or third baseman can help them tremendously in case an injury occurs to one of them.

The Cardinals currently have Jhonny Peralta to fill that void in a way, but he has been battling injuries for the last few seasons. At 34 years old, it is hard to keep relying on him to fill such a pivotal role on the team. Acquiring a guy like Trevor Plouffe could prove to be beneficial as the season winds down. He doesn’t usually hit for a high average, but he has some power and has experience playing both corner infield spots. More importantly he is healthy, and he is also on a cheap one year deal, so it won’t cost much to get him.

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