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The St. Louis Cardinals Need a Clear-Cut Closer

The St. Louis Cardinals Have Problems in the Ninth Inning

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COMMENTARY | The St. Louis Cardinals were dealt a blow as they broke spring training camp in 2013. Their closer, Jason Motte, was injured. The early weeks of the season unveiled that the injury was not getting better and, pending a re-evaluation, Motte may require season ending surgery.

Compounding the issue, Mitchell Boggs proved to be ineffective after inheriting the role and showcased an inability to nail down the all-important 27th out. The bullpen in St. Louis has proven to be loaded with outstanding arms leading up to the 9th inning but decidedly bare of arms capable of truly closing games.

There are options, some of which have been explored, some of which have been rumored, and some of which are a bit outside the box.

Edward Mujica - The obvious option, primarily because of his recent success in the role for the team. Mujica successfully closed down all three games in the recent series against the Washington Nationals and seems to be settling into the role quite well. His success in that role could calm the bullpen inefficiencies and keep the Cardinals from reaching for answers in other locations.

Trevor Rosenthal - Cardinal fans around the country are drooling at the thought of Rosenthal's 100 mile per hour fastball shutting down games for the team. He continues to develop at the major league level and has shown success in high pressure situations. The team seems content to keep him out of closing games for now, but the temptation may not be irresistible for long.

Michael Wacha - Another young, hard-throwing pitcher in the Cardinals' system, Wacha did his share of impressing during spring training in 2013. He projects as a starter, both in the minors and the majors, but many people would like to see the team invoke a plan similar to the process that Adam Wainwright followed. Wacha is not currently on the team's 40-man roster and would therefore require a roster move to become the answer to this problem.

Carlos Martinez - Young, hard-throwing prospects make Cardinal fans drool with anticipation and Martinez is no exception. He projects to join the starting rotation when he arrives for good, but many are starting to advocate the same plan the team followed with Adam Wainwright - let him pitch out of the bullpen and close for the team before joining the rotation. He is a long shot for this opportunity but that doesn't stop fans from clamoring for it.

Brian Wilson - A formerly successful closer on a world champion team, Wilson is currently a rehabbing free agent that will be looking for a team in the near future. The decision on Motte's injury status will coincide very closely to Wilson's availability on the market. The team has been known for reclamation projects in the past but this one might be a bit of a stretch.

The options, internal and external, are plenty. There are many more options available to the team and, ultimately, the choice will have a major impact on the success of the 2013 season.

Who do you think ends up closing games for the team for the remainder of 2013?

Bill Ivie can be found writing about the Cardinals at i70baseball as well as here on Yahoo! Sports. You can find him talking baseball on Twitter regularly.

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