It took until July 31, but with the St. Louis Cardinals preoccupied by acquiring Edwin Jackson and Rafael Furcal and dumping Colby Rasmus for pennies on the dollar the MLB trade rumors that connected them to San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell seem finally to have fizzled out. The omnibus trade that was supposed to send Bell and shortstop Jason Bartlett to the Cardinals has been rendered obsolete by less-abrupt upgrades, leaving Heath Bell speculation to the Texas Rangers.
The relief problem was solved, in the end, by trading for a starting pitcher. Jackson came with two relievers, lefty Marc Rzepczynski and righty Octavio Dotel, and Wally Pipped erstwhile set-up man Kyle McClellan back into the bullpen by taking his spot in the rotation. The result wasn't a name-brand closer, but it was a fully renovated bullpen.
As for shortstop, if the Rafael Furcal deal goes through as expected the Cardinals will have gotten a Bartlett-style upgrade by picking up a player who was just as expensive and struggling even more.
In the end it ended up that the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus for unnecessary help in the bullpen, but it didn't quite go the way anyone expected on July 1. Truth be told, this turned out better than it could have gone--even if it still didn't turn out especially well.