5 things that would need to happen for the Cardinals to compete for the World Series

The Cardinals are not in the conversation of World Series contenders right now, but what would have to happen to get them there?

San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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#3 - Defense and baserunning are tightened up

The Cardinals are typically known for their clean play. They pride themselves on being a club that makes the right play and is sound fundamentally, especially when it comes to defense and base running.

Well, 2023 was a step in the wrong direction for the club when it came to the fundamentals, and that's been a big topic of discussion for the club this offseason.

Jordan Walker and Willson Contreras were two major liabilities defensively last year that hurt the Cardinals in the field, and both have put in a ton of work this offseason to take steps forward defensively. Walker has been working with Jose Oquendo this offseason to improve as an outfielder, while Contreras appears to have made strides when it comes to pitch framing. Both of these things would be massive steps in the right direction for the Cardinals' defense.

There are some other things working in the Cardinals' favor that way as well. Tommy Edman is now in center field and should provide top-10 defense at that position, and the same can be said with Masyn Winn at shortstop. Nolan Arenado is looking to bounce back from a down year defensively. Lars Nootbaar will be in left field most days, helping to improve that defense as well.

When it comes to base running, Winn and Edman both have the ability to be difference-makers on the basepaths. Walker and Nootbaar are also guys who can provide more there than they did in 2023. But all eyes are on prospect Victor Scott II and what he'll provide upon his debut.

Not only can Scott help the Cardinals' defense, but he's also someone who'll immediately be among the best base stealers in baseball and could be the best shortly. He stole over 90 bases in the minors last year and is knocking on the door of St. Louis.

Improvement in both of these areas would go a long way for the club in 2024.