Happy Thanksgiving Cardinal Nation! Today we spend time with family and friends while taking time to reflect on the past year and recount aspects of our lives we are thankful for. While 2023 was not the season any of us had hoped for, I am still thankful I'm a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. It sure beats rooting for other teams that haven't had the same success we do here in St. Louis. Even though it was a terrible season by all accounts, there are still reasons to be thankful for the Cardinals, so here are the top 5 reasons Cardinals fans should be thankful.
#4.5- Be thankful ownership wants to "contend" next year.
If the Cardinals can sign half a starter, I can have half a reason to be thankful. (This was written prior to the signing of Kyle Gibson. It's become somewhat unclear if the Cardinals will actually spend big to bolster the rotation. For my full thoughts check out the discussion with Redbird Rants site expert Josh Jacobs and site contributor Sandy McMillan on the Noot News Podcast here.)
Cardinals fans have never experienced a rebuild under the ownership of the DeWitt family, and that's something most baseball fans cannot say. After an abysmal season, it looked possible the Cardinals might rebuild but fortunately, that is not the case.
Many good teams have gone through struggles similar to the 2023 Cardinals and had their front office give up on contention and move into a rebuild. The 2016 World Series Cubs roster was blown up at the Trade Deadline, and Cubs fans saw franchise cornerstones Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and others shipped off in hours after the Cubs faltered and fell out of contention in 2021. The Nationals had a similar fire sale in 2022 sending franchise face Juan Soto to the Padres.
Faced with a similar choice, John Mozeliak and ownership could've dismantled the core, trading Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt among other key offensive pieces at the Trade Deadline. However, because of the long history of success and contention in St. Louis, ownership deemed such a rebuild unacceptable and the team instead decided to trade expiring assets such as Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery for prospects and reload for competing in 2024.
Cardinals fans should be thankful the DeWitt family views the 2023 season as a one-time event, and they hope to contend again next season. With a payroll increase hopefully in the works, the Cardinals are poised to spend big and land their future ace in free agency. They've already shown some commitment to spending by landing Lance Lynn for $10 million in 2024. Hopefully, that's a sign they'll be willing to spend big on another top free agent such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, or Sonny Gray.