2. Lars Nootbaar
Lars Nootbaar has quietly become one of the better outfielders in all of baseball. Some nagging injuries limited Nootbaar to 117 games in 2023, despite that he was able to surpass career highs in just about every offensive category. He has also been a very solid defensive player at all 3 outfield slots, as he has a career +9 DRS ( Defensive Runs Saved).
We saw recently Nootbaar get his praise on MLB Network voting him as the 7th best left fielder in the MLB going into the 2024 season, according to " The Shredder " a data analysis tool used by the MLB Network research team that uses traits such as past performance on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
So Nootbaar has not played more than 120 games in a season since he was first called up by the Cardinals in 2021, so why would you give him an extension? Nootbaar has a very attractive skill set, he hits the ball hard, he gets on base, and he doesn't strike out, which makes him a very reliable top-of-the-lineup player for the Cards. On top of that, his stellar defensive play and great locker room presence make him somebody the Cardinals should consider keeping around for the future.
The Cardinals' outfield situation has become a carousel over the past several seasons and a logjam of those outfielders has led to the team having to make some difficult decisions and get rid of some great talent. Lucky for them they still have two solid outfielders in Nootbaar and Walker, and these two can solidify the corner outfield spots for the Cardinals for the next several years.