5 Cardinals players who could define the team's direction entering Spring Training

Just days before Spring Training kicks off for the 2024 season, the St. Louis Cardinals still have questions to answer.

Masyn Winn
Masyn Winn / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Lance Lynn could define the Cardinals' direction in 2024

Lynn returned to the Cardinals for his prowess in throwing strikes over multiple innings. This is something the Cardinals desperately need after a disastrous 2023 in which the bullpen became over-extended thanks to numerous issues regarding the starting rotation - most of which involved injuries.

Having a starter they can depend on going multiple innings will be refreshing.

Lynn also has a personality that is desperately needed to act as a big brother for a young, quiet staff uncertain of their fit with a team trying to find itself. He is a bulldog, a fighter, and knows the Cardinal Way and what's expected.

While Lynn didn't perform well during his time between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, it should be good for Lynn to come back home and play in front of a fanbase that does love him. He'll be in the comfort of a system he grew up in, around players and coaches with whom he has friendships already. If the Cardinals get precisely what they're hoping from Lynn, this should be a crucial key to their success in 2024.

Nolan Arenado could define the Cardinals' direction in 2024

Arenado was no different than his teammates in the ebbs and flows he contended with in 2023. He arguably had the worst season of his career for the Cardinals.

When Arenado has not met his hitting expectations in the past, it has served as an incentive for a huge breakout at the plate in the next season. In 2023, Arenado suffered through back pain for most of the season, even ending his season early by landing on the injured list.

Last season, he slashed .266/.315/.459 with an OPS of .774. He scored 26 doubles, two triples, 26 home runs, 71 runs scored, and 93 RBIs. This off-season, he's worked to heal his ailment and improve at the plate in addition to his usual fielding work. Arenado should have a substantial chip on his shoulder to get him far into the 2024 season and back to performing as fans have expected.

If Arenado gets back in his regular flow, his success will be a crucial element to how the Cardinals do this summer.

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