The Cardinals starting rotation could use some work, and General Manager John Mozeliak should look into trading prospects for another starter.

There is no doubt that the Cardinals’ struggles this season are due to the starting rotation. Adam Wainwright has not been close to the pitcher he was, Mike Leake can’t make it past the 5th inning, Michael Wacha has not found his rhythm yet, and Jaime Garcia and Carlos Martinez have been inconsistent.

The Cardinals are looking for help for their starting pitching staff. There are very few in house options for the Cardinals to call up. Top prospect Alex Reyes’ has just finished serving his suspension and has not thrown enough innings this season to be trusted at the major league level. Tim Cooney and Marco Gonzales are currently on the disabled list and have not played yet during the 2016 season. The Cardinals have some arms at AAA Memphis who are ready for the big leagues but have not been stretched out enough to be in a MLB rotation.

If the Cardinals want to continue to compete for a pennant, they have to take a long look at the trade market. Though it is still early, it is time for the Cardinals to start thinking of potential trade options to make come late July.

General Manager John Mozeliak is not likely to trade away one of the Cardinals’ top prospects nor should he have to. The Cardinals are not looking for an ace like James Shields and are not willing to roll the dice on a veteran player who is having a good season such as Rich Hill. The Cardinals are looking to make an under the radar move that will not cost them a big prospect.

The Cardinals should target Brandon Morrow. The San Diego Padres will be more than willing to trade Morrow because they’re already out of the playoff race. Morrow has made five starts on the season posting an impressive 2.73 ERA. Morrow is a very underrated pitcher and the Cardinals should capitalize on his value while it is still low.

The San Diego Padres are a team who plans to be competing by 2017 and are looking for a prospect who is almost MLB ready. Trey Nielsen would be a perfect return in this trade. The 24 year-old right handed pitcher is ready for the MLB. He was a late round draft pick and the Cardinals have very little invested in him, making it a bit easier to say goodbye. He can throw his fastball in the mid 90s with a good changeup. His curveball needs work but will have time to improve over the rest of the 2016 season. Nielsen doesn’t strike out many batters which will help him in the long run because he’ll be able to throw longer in games.

Overall, the Cardinals need to make a move for a starting pitcher before August 1st. There is no need to give up a lot for a top of the line starter, but the starting rotation must be improved and that can happen through an acquisition for a third or fourth starter.

Photo captured by Steve Mitchell- USA Today Sports