The position battles in the Cardinals' outfield
The Cardinals' outfield logjam has been a concern since last offseason and continues to be a question mark for the team going into 2024. Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar, Tyler O'Neill, Dylan Carlson, and Alec Burleson all have chances to lock in roster spots, and the likes of Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan will likely get reps out there as well.
The Cardinals are going to be using the remainder of this season to evaluate their outfield mix, determining which guys they want to role with in 2024, and which guys should be used as trade bait.
On 101 ESPN this past week, GM Michael Girsch gave a glimpse into how the front office currently sees the Cardinals' center field situation. He indicated that Lars Nootbaar and Dylan Carlson were the two main options for the club in center field at the moment, with Tyler O'Neill officially being a left field option. Tommy Edman was not a name he put into that conversation, but did say that when Masyn Winn takes over, Edman could see more outfield reps (likely in a true utility player kind of role).
Interestingly, Victor Scott II, a rising prospect within the Cardinals' organization that has been making headlines with his base-stealing ability, was a name that Girsch said is in the "medium-term" future for St. Louis. I recently interviewed him on my podcast "Redbird Rundown" (link to the audio and video versions of the podcast here).
If Tyler O'Neill excels down the stretch, does he play himself into the Cardinals' 2024 plans? Or become a valuable trade piece for them? Does the winner of the Lars Nootbaar and Dylan Carlson position battle make the other expendable? Will the club trust Jordan Walker defensively in the outfield next season?
How those competitions shake out will have a dramatic impact on the Cardinals' offseason plans and their 2024 roster.