#4 - Be thankful the Cardinals finally have outfield stability.
The Cardinals' outfield has been extremely inconsistent in years past. In 2021, fans finally thought the trio of Tyler O'Neill, Dylan Carlson, and Harrison Bader was going to solidify the outfield. The future looked promising, but after injuries to all three in the 2022 season, the plan changed. Bader was shipped off to the Yankees in exchange for Jordan Montgomery, and O'Neill and Carlson will likely be on their way out in exchange for pitching depth as well. Fortunately, the emergence of Lars Nootbaar and Jordan Walker has made the transition quick and once again it looks like the Cardinals have their future corner outfielders set for many years to come.
Jordan Walker showed significant promise in his 21-year-old rookie campaign, posting a slash line of .276/.342/.445/.787 and a 114 OPS+. His defense was admittedly quite poor, but he was inexperienced in the outfield after moving from his natural third base and showed significant improvements toward the end of the season. Perhaps the Cardinals will make fans even more thankful by extending him this offseason.
Lars Nootbaar's emergence from "fourth outfielder at best" to an untouchable player in trade negotiations also gives Cardinals fans something to be thankful for this year. He provides great defense at all outfield positions, even center field, with above-average offense and elite on-base skills. His 2023 season was the best by a Cardinals leadoff hitter since Matt Carpenter and he's shown great ability to set the table for Goldschmidt, Gorman, and Arenado.
Nootbaar's off-the-field charisma also greatly benefits the team. He provided energy even during a losing season, and his relationships with his Japanese WBC teammates could also come in handy this offseason. If the Cardinals do manage to land Yoshinobu Yamamoto, some credit should be given to Nootbaar.