3 good and 2 bad lessons from the Cardinals' 2023 struggles

Now that the season appears to be written off, let's take a look back at lessons the Front Office and team can learn from a disastrous 2023 season.
Washington Nationals v St. Louis Cardinals
Washington Nationals v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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The Good: Spending

Ironically, the Cardinals spent the most money this past offseason than they ever had. Willson Contreras's five-year, $87.5 million contract was the largest contract given out to a true free agent in team history. This upcoming offseason, the team should match those efforts.

While Contreras may not have been the ideal candidate for a franchise-record contract, his signing shows the team has a desire to sign big free agents, particularly players who fill a need the team has. With the amount of great pitching in this off-season's free-agent class, it is imperative the Cardinals spend money once again. With $35-$40 million coming off the books after the 2023 season, management should use that money to sign a top-end free-agent starter and some bullpen reinforcements.

Building a roster is done in three ways primarily, drafting and developing, trading, and free agent signings. The Cardinals have historically done a good job at drafting and developing; they've practically broken even with trades in recent history; now, they must do more than just dip their toes in the free agent market in the 2024 off-season.