The Cardinals' Achilles heel

Rafael Furcal has barely been above replacement level since joining the Cardinals in 2011. Jeff Curry/US Presswire

The nine games that separated the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals last season was the largest of the six gaps between a first-place and second-place team. And aside from its bullpen, the main trouble spot for St. Louis was its middle infield. This isn't news to any Cardinals fan -- the club hasn't had a player worth 3 wins above replacement at second base or shortstop since 2005.

And while the team may be content to wait for prospect Kolten Wong and pray that the tape and glue holding Rafael Furcal together will hold for a full season, they should be more aggressive in getting middle-infield help in what could be the last year for the Chris Carpenter-Adam Wainwright era.