St. Louis Cardinals' best-case and worst-case scenarios for 2024 season

Mar 7, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jordan Walker (18) follows
Mar 7, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jordan Walker (18) follows / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
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The 2024 St. Louis Cardinals have a reputation to live up to. Since the current iteration of the NL Central was created in 2013, the Cardinals have won more divisional titles, made more postseason appearances and won more games than any of their rivals.

That’s what made 2023, when the Cardinals finished last in their division for the first time since 1990, so unsettling. Now what?

Cardinals' Best-Case Scenario for 2024

Team president John Mozeliak decided the fix lay in dressing up the team’s rotation. The Cardinals were 24th in the majors in team ERA in 2023, so Mozeliak added Sonny Gray from Minnesota, Lance Lynn from the White Sox/Dodgers and Kyle Gibson from the Orioles. Whether that’s a fix remains to be seen: Gray is already experiencing hamstring problems, the severity of which have not been fully determined as of this writing. He could miss Opening Day.

Lynn had his greatest success with the Cardinals, but he had a 5.73 ERA last season. At 5.05, Gibson wasn’t much better. So Cardinal fans live in hope.

They also hope that the everyday lineup, not radically altered, will revitalize from its collective 2023 funk, when the Cardinals were an unimpressive 19th in runs per game. The major addition looks to be Masyn Winn, who is being entrusted with the shortstop job if he can keep it. Winn hit .288 at Memphis last season, but .234 in 37 big league games following his mid-August callup.

Still, with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado back to lead the offense, the Cardinals are as popular a pick as any among the pundit class to win the very available NL Central. In outfielders Jordan Walker and Tommy Edman and infielder Brendan Donovan, the Cardinals have some regulars with the potential to break through as stars. If they do, St. Louis can be back in its accustomed spot as divisional kings