4) Yamamoto's deal changed the way many teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals, will view the postseason.
This is partially about Yamamoto's deal. But his contract was just the icing on the cake. They've now added Ohtani, Glasnow, and Yamamoto. They're probably not done. They've made themselves distant favorites. The Cardinals can't compete with the Dodgers or Braves over the course of a 162-game season. That's ok, because they don't have to. There's very little they could do short-term to build a team capable of nabbing a bye in the crowded National League pennant chase. No player available can bridge the gap between them and the "top-tier teams." If they're going to win 100 games, it'll take long-term development.
Thus, the Cardinals remain firmly in the bucket of "get in and get lucky." All they're trying to do is make the playoffs. That's probably going to frustrate a lot of fans. Will it give the Cardinals the best chance to win a World Series? Of course not! They won't be favored against the vaunted Braves or Dodgers. And to make matters worse, they'll have to fight through an additional round which, as we saw in 2021, can yield disastrous results.
But, if they can't get a bye, they're going to play the "get in and get lucky" game. Teams go on runs in the postseason, and often it makes no sense. The 2023 Diamondbacks did it. The 2019 Nationals did it. The 2021 Braves did it. Sometimes these teams win, and sometimes they don't. The Cardinals' two championship squads in 2006 and 2011 went on legendary runs. What's more, their best teams this century, 2004, 2005, and 2013, came up short. The postseason is, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, very random. The sample size is very small. Weird stuff happens. With the Dodgers and Braves surging ahead of the league, a lot of teams will likely adopt this stance.