4 former Cardinals who are putting on a show in Spring Training

These four players who left the St. Louis Cardinals during or after the 2023 season are starting the year off hot in hopes of schooling their former team.
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Bryan M. Bennett/GettyImages
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Paul DeJong

Woe to those Cardinals fans who believed in Paul DeJong after he started off multiple seasons coming out like gangbusters, only to collapse spectacularly after the first month or so of the season. DeJong appears to be up to his old spring tricks with the Chicago White Sox, as he's hit .295 with three home runs for the South Siders across 50 plate appearances.

After fizzling out with the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Francisco Giants following his departure from St. Louis via trade, DeJong will look to resuscitate his career with the White Sox and will likely start the season as the top shortstop option for the team, although top prospect Colson Montgomery is knocking on the door to the major leagues.

Now 30, DeJong is unlikely to find another gear, and it would be a major surprise if his hot hitting carries over deep into the regular season. Maybe the White Sox have unlocked something there, but DeJong has a history of hot starts like these, so a large heap of skepticism is warranted.

Jack Flaherty

Jack Flaherty was a big part of the Cardinals' hopes in 2023, but he was plagued by ineffectiveness before a trade to the Baltimore Orioles that netted the Cardinals Cesar Prieto, Zack Showalter and Drew Rom. Flaherty imploded with the Orioles, pitching his way out of their rotation for the postseason, and he wasn't retained after the offseason, leading the Detroit Tigers to snap him up in free agency.

Flaherty is showing nasty stuff this spring, with 18 strikeouts and only four walks in 13.2 innings, in which he has allowed five runs. He is likely to slot into the Tigers' rotation as he looks for a bounce-back year. Injuries have derailed the career of the former highly touted prospect, who never lived up to his ace projections outside of the second half of 2019, but if Flaherty is finally fully healthy, the Tigers might have hit the jackpot on a cheap one-year, $14 million contract.

Many Cardinals fans never fully embraced Flaherty because of his inconsistency and frequent injuries, along with his decisions to speak out on issues regarding social justice, and some of his comments after the trade fanned the flames. It will be interesting to see the response to Flaherty if he pitches in Busch Stadium anytime soon, especially if he finds the success in Detroit that eluded him for most of his tenure in St. Louis.