3 realities Cardinals fans need to accept and 1 fantasy that may yet come true

Adam Wainwright, Oli Marmol, St. Louis Cardinals. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)
Adam Wainwright, Oli Marmol, St. Louis Cardinals. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images) /
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Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals, Phillies, MLB Rumors
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Cardinals must be ready for a fire sale

It’s easy to dismiss this 2023 Cards season as just one bad year, but when looking at the makeup of the roster, it reveals a deeper problem. Nolan Arenado isn’t going anywhere, but Paul Goldschmidt is signed for just one more season. The majority of this starting rotation — including both Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty — come off the books this offseason. Wainwright is retiring at year’s end. And several outfielders — including but not limited to Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill — hit peak value long ago, and now may only return some spare parts.

The 2024 Cardinals will look much different than this group, and that’s for the better. With that in mind, then, why is Mozeliak so afraid of what he coins as a rebuild? Trading assets on their last legs — heck, maybe even taking offers on Goldschmidt due to his contract — is smart business. St. Louis’ farm system is rapidly-improving and they can make it even better by adding smart, capable young players to their minor-league rosters.

In all likelihood, Goldschmidt isn’t going anywhere. Arenado won’t be traded. They will remain Cardinals, along with Willson Contreras and a few others. But this team won’t be the same.