5 Cardinals players who could be the difference between success and failure in 2024

These players could make 2024 a winner for the Cardinals or a complete disaster

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Steven Matz

The start of 2023 for Steven Matz was absolutely dreadful. After signing a 4 year, $44 million contract with the Cardinals prior to the start of 2022, many Cardinals fans were already ready to cut ties with him following an abysmal 8-0 Memorial Day loss to the Kansas City Royals. Following this start, Matz was relegated to the bullpen. Through an injury-plagued 2022 and a horrific start to 2023, the Matz contract was looking like a disaster.

However, following the move to the bullpen, Matz posted a 2.08 ERA for the remainder of his season. His resurgence provided much-needed optimism for the Cardinals during a season with very little to be optimistic about. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to a left lat strain. Despite attempts to return to the field, Matz was ultimately shut down for the rest of the season as there was no reason to rush him back during an otherwise lost 2023.

While injury-riddled, Steven Matz's first two seasons in St. Louis have been extremely respectable. He was extremely unlucky in 2022 as his 5.25 ERA didn't match his 3.78 FIP at all. In fact, Matz's 3.76 FIP during his first two seasons in St. Louis indicates his contract might've been a bargain rather than a mistake. If he can keep up the same performance in 2024, he'll be an excellent addition to a rotation full of question marks. However, if he is unable to stay healthy, the Cardinals may yet be scrambling for innings that Matz is unable to fill.