#1 - Be thankful for the young talent.
Many contending teams have weaker farm systems due to drafting lower and trading away prospect capital for established veterans. However, the Cardinals have maintained a great balance of veteran stars and young talent. Lars Nootbaar, Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, Tommy Edman, and many others form an extremely promising young core that should lead the Cardinals to success for years to come. The Cardinals also have talent in the Minors that should make an impact very soon. Thomas Saggese, Victor Scott II, Tink Hence, and Tekoah Roby are all players who could get called up next season.
The young talent also gives the Cardinals to swing trades for top-end starting pitching without sacrificing depth on the Major League roster. If the Cardinals trade Tommy Edman in a package for Tyler Glasnow, either Saggese or Scott could join the team to fill his role. A crowded outfield of Dylan Carlson, Tyler O'Neill, Alec Burleson, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar, and Jordan Walker won't work next year, but a few of those names are sure to be traded to bring back much-needed pitching help.
I discussed Nootbaar and Walker earlier in the article, but Nolan Gorman deserves to be highlighted just as much. Despite injury and only playing 119 games, Gorman showed prodigious power at second base, slugging 27 home runs and posting a 117 OPS+, a tremendous improvement from 2022. Had he stayed healthy, he easily would've eclipsed 35 homers, a huge asset at second base.
The Cardinals have a wealth of young Major League-ready position player talent and up-and-coming starting pitching talent. The future for this team is certainly bright, and there are so many different ways they can approach it. Let us hope they won't waste it.