1) The Cardinals did not get Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
This feels obvious. That's because it is. But, it's important. The Cardinals did not land Yamamoto. The Cardinals still need to add pitching. That's well-documented at this point. They'll be relying on a rotation composed of Sonny Gray, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn in 2024. It's not one of the league's strongest groups.
That rotation is better than the one the 2023 team struggled with. The Cardinals have added a level of certainty. They won't simply run out of innings the way they did in 2023. Gibson, Lynn, and Gray combined for 560 innings in 2023. They bring impressive volume to the table. They'll pitch deeper into games than the Cardinals' pitchers did, and they'll alleviate the undue pressure that was constantly placed on the bullpen. They'll keep the team in the game. They'll rarely exit with large deficits. Even when they do, they'll But, aside from Gray, the rotation will struggle to turn in premium pitching performances. They'll rarely dominate.
Yamamoto could have helped to solve that issue. Adding him to this pitching staff would have instantly made the Cardinals a much better team. His stuff is elite. He racks up strikeouts. He's likely to instantly be one of MLB's best pitchers. And he's just 25. He's an ace who is just entering his prime. It's possible he gets even better over the next few years. It's a shame that he won't be pitching for the Cardinals. There's just no way around that fact.