It's evident after the 2023 season, the St. Louis Cardinals will have a lot on their wish list for 2024. This includes a bounce-back season for several on the talented roster that struggled with output and consistency in 2023.
Even the team's most talented stars struggled in 2023. This made the team's overall sluggish performance worse, as fans were not getting anything from a roster that looked loaded and primed for a successful 2023 season.
A lack of pitching due to the dependence on arms that were not healthy, combined with a line-up that was inconsistent and in some cases not healthy, and young players playing out of position, the Cardinals did not have a recipe for success. Unfortunately, the president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, waited until just before the trade deadline.
Mozeliak waited too long to get help for the 2023 season but made good on his promise to get pitching for 2024 and beyond. Mozeliak has also promised to get at least three pitchers during the offseason. It is safe to say more will be needed to help this team, including the outfield, bench depth, and coaching staff changes.
There will also be several regulars who must have better seasons in 2024 if the Cardinals hope to return to their championship ways in 2024. Let's discuss those players who need to bounce back
Nolan Arenado must have a bounce-back season for the Cardinals in 2024
Arenado was not the defensive or offensive threat he has prided himself to be over his career. He had a staggering decline. In addition to experiencing a dead arm sensation for most of the first half of the 2023 season, he also seemed to be dealing with lower back issues that put him on the injured list to end the season.
Each off-season, Arenado worked to improve over the last season. It would seem he will be putting in a lot of work this offseason. This season, Areando slashed .266/.315/.459 with an OPS of .774. In 2022, Arenado hit .293/.358/.533 with an OPS of .891.
This season, he hit 26 doubles, two triples, 26 home runs, 71 runs scored, and 93 RBI. He struck out 101 times this season, whereas in 2022, he only struck out 72. He also tied a career-high by grounding into a double play 21 times. This was the first year he didn't hit over 30 home runs since joining the Cardinals.
He also had a drop on his defense in 2023. He had 19 defensive runs saved in 2022, while in 2023, he had only one. That is staggering.
Could his playing in the World Baseball Classic have zapped him from having a complete season? We will definitely see, as Arenado will have this offseason and spring training dedicated to the Cardinals.
Arenado knows that he is a vital piece of this team. He will want a much better season in 2024.