MILWAUKEE -- Newly installed general manager Michael Girsch called the Cardinals' inability to complete a deal before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline "frustrating." He insisted, however, that the absence of activity was not related to a lack of effort.
"We were busy. I can't prove that to anyone, but we were busy," Girsch said. "We were talking to everybody about everything. We discussed all sorts of options. It is very frustrating to come to the end of the month and not have anything to show for the time and the effort and something to make the organization better. But at the same time, we can't fall into the trap of doing something just to do something.
"There's an offseason coming up. There are more opportunities to make changes, make adjustments to improve."
A quiet Trade Deadline has not lessened the front office's intent to shake up the roster. John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, has questioned whether an "attitude and culture" shakeup may be needed, and Girsch noted that the roster, as it looks now, has its flaws.
Those assessments seem to foreshadow a busy offseason ahead.
"We have a lot of pieces that probably don't make the perfect puzzle," Girsch said. "How do we make that work? We are well aware that there are redundancies and opportunities. That's half the way to making the trade -- identifying what you'd like to accomplish. The other half is identifying who wants to accomplish the other side of that."
Among the objectives still left on the to-do list are a clearing of an overcrowded outfield and the addition of an impact bat that could serve as an anchor in the middle of the lineup. Girsch noted that a market never developed for that sort of offensive addition.
But while the Cardinals didn't feel they had the right opportunities to enhance their roster at the Deadline, they also refrained from selling off big league pieces. They wanted to give this team, which entered Tuesday 4 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the National League Central, the chance to still make a run at October.
"Those are the conversations we have nonstop, that this team is right there to figure some things out and put that kind of baseball together that we've seen a little more consistently as of late, and we have some pieces here that we need to continue to make that push," manager Mike Matheny said. "I'm very happy that we didn't see a lot of guys go."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.