A nightmare 2023 regular season is almost behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Injuries, rotation struggles and even clubhouse drama have all gotten in the way of the Cardinals achieving their goal this year, which was to win the NL Central and make the playoffs yet again. They certainly had a roster capable of achieiving those benchmarks, especially after signing Willson Contreras this offseason and holding onto numerous members of their crowded outfield.
Yet, it wasn't meant to be. John Mozeliak is left with a retooling of sorts this winter, as he hopes to make his roster better without tearing down the structure altogether. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, while a year older, have played well in all facets. They are not going anywhere. But the rotation, minus a few key contributors traded at the deadline, needs a facelift.
September is a good time for the Cards front office to find potential building blocks. It can also provide some clarity for players on their way out the door.
St. Louis Cardinals who shouldn't be on the September roster: Dylan Carlson
It should be noted that Dylan Carlson is injured -- he was placed on the 10-day injured list some time ago with lingering ankle soreness and an oblique strain. Eventually, he will re-enter the fold and the Cards outfield, as he's expected to make some rehab starts in the coming weeks. While Carlson used to be a top prospect and had a ton of potential, he was a trade deadline target and frankly should have been flipped to a team like the Yankees, who were reportedly interested in him.
By holding onto Carlson yet again at the deadline -- the front office did the same thing last year when Juan Soto was offered up -- the Cardinals only added to their crowded outfield and front office headache. Unfortunately, Carlson has never lived up to the expectations St. Louis had for him. This season, he is hitting just .219 with five home runs. If he is traded this winter, it won't come at an expendive asking price, as the Cardinals have let his value run dry over the past few years.