3 reasons this season will be different for the St. Louis Cardinals

The 2023 season was a disaster for the Cardinals but they've revamped their roster and they're ready to put themselves right back on top.

Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) takes
Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) takes / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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1. The Cardinals have a chip on their shoulder

This is the St. Louis Cardinals we're talking about. They have a winning culture that dates back decades. Of course, they have a chip on their shoulder about a season in which they went 71-91. While outside observers saw the lack of acquiring pitching help in 2023 as a detriment, the Cardinals went into 2023 quite confident they could win it all.

It didn't work out that way, and Mozeliak publicly accepted this reality just before the trade deadline. Unfortunately, they didn't do anything that could help them make a run in 2023, but they did make some moves that should help them this season and beyond.

Arenado and Goldschmidt each had their struggles, and the team was loaded with young talent trying to figure things out. While Arenado and Goldschmidt are quiet players who lead by example, the team was apparently missing a more vocal leader. They had a manager willing to throw players under the bus for perceived issues. Those players were left to go to outside sources to work on issues.

Willson Contreras went to Molina and other mentors after the starting rotation's struggles at the beginning of 2023. Contreras and Ivan Herrera should benefit the most from Molina's presence. Contereas powered through the criticism and became one of the better performers for the Cardinals in 2023. He looks to grow and be ready for an even better 2024.

Tyler O'Neill, another player criticized for a perceived lack of hustle, was traded this offseason to the Boston Red Sox. O'Neill's departure relieves some of the backlog of outfielders. Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, Dylan Carlson, Tommy Edman, and Victor Scott II are all expected to compete for left and centerfield positions, with Jordan Walker set to play right field.

The second base position will see competition between Nolan Gorman, Edman, Donovan, and Thomas Saggese, as Masyn Winn seems to have secured shortstop.

With more options and some added leadership, this team should be a better unit moving into the 2024 season.

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