3. There is extreme risk in going after top-end free agents
One complaint I hear all the time about the Cardinals is that they do not go after top-end free agents. It's been 8 years since they offered $200 million to Jason Heyward and $180 million to David Price, and almost 15 years since they signed Matt Holliday to the biggest free agent contract of his offseason. They've shown a willingness to make a big signing in the past, but it has not happened in recent years.
I expect the Cardinals to get involved in the top-end of the pitching market this offseason, and I believe most fans are clamoring for that, but everyone needs to remember the risk that the Cardinals will be taking on here.
Think about all of the failed contracts to starting pitchers that have been handed out in recent memory. Stephen Strasburg, David Price, Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, and perhaps guys like Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon will be in this category soon as well. Injuries, regression in performance, and so many other things can sink the value of a contract for a starting pitcher, and the Cardinals could fall victim to that as well.
They've backed themselves into a corner this offseason and have to take on that risk, but fans need to remember that before clamoring for Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Julio Urias, or whoever your favorite target is. If they struggle with injuries or start regressing, don't get mad that the Cardinals were aggressive in signing them like you asked them to.