Option 3: Trade for Ryan Howard
The Cardinals have assets in their minor league system despite the promotions in recent years of Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal, Randal Grichuk, and Kevin Siegrist. These assets may interest more than a few teams if the Cardinals were to make calls on the likes of say, Ryan Howard. The 35-year old slugger is currently slashing .256/.298/.519 and has sent 10 balls into the seats. The St. Louis native is under contract through 2016 (team option for 2017), and the Phillies have put him on the block.
The Cardinals would likely have to send a nice package over to Philadelphia as compensation and the Phillies would have to eat about 80 percent of the money, but Howard would bring some nice pop, Reynolds could move back to the bench (strengthening it), and the Cardinals would have their replacement. Although Howard has struggled in recent years, he looks to be having something of a bounce-back year, and could be a season-changer for the Cardinals. But he also could flame out after the trade and the Cardinals are stuck with the 2014 version of Howard, the .223 hitter who struck out 190 times. The Cardinals will explore their in-house options before making a deal of this magnitude.