2 potential X factors for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2024

The Cardinals have a better team now than they did entering 2024, but there are still some question marks. These two players could be potential X factors.
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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2. Lance Lynn

Like many, I was quite puzzled by the Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson signings. At this point, it's probably too late to question these moves, as they were made before Thanksgiving.

However, Lynn is somebody I feel could play a pivotal role for the Cardinals this coming season for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I believe he is somebody that the young players can lean on for guidance. He is also somebody who you know is going to hold everybody accountable, so he'll be a good clubhouse presence for a team that sorely needed veteran leadership after the losses of Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, and now Adam Wainwright.

Lynn was teammates with all three and learned from them.

I think Lynn will play a pivotal role in terms of performance as well. He did not have a good 2023 season. Though he logged 183.2 innings and recorded 191 strikeouts, he posted a 5.73 ERA and gave up the most home runs of any pitcher in baseball.

Returning to St. Louis should help him give up less home runs, at least at home.

At the very least, Lynn is somebody who takes the ball and gives you innings, and not too long ago, he was a solid number two starter for the White Sox. In 2022, he posted a 3.99 ERA.

If he can stay healthy and return to that form, then the Cardinals will have two veteran guys in the same rotation that you can trust in playoff games. Lynn is far from an ace but could project as a number two or number three if he returns to form. He also has great experience pitching in the postseason.