Stat #3 - Five games back
For as dire as things seemed for a while in early May, the Cardinals have already clawed their way back to within striking distance of the Milwaukee Brewers in the first place, and they still have 109 games left to do so.
Just a few days ago, Ken Rosenthal echoed this optimism as well, saying he expects the Cardinals to still win the National League Central by 10 or more games this season. The Pirates, Brewers, and to a lesser extent, the Cubs, all got off to good starts to the 2023 season, but have all begun to regress back to what we all expected them to be this year.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, had a historically terrible start to the season, at one point had the worst record in the National League as recently as a few weeks ago, but are now already back in contention for the division lead.
For those who began to have doubts about the Cardinals even being a playoff team, I would guess they are first in the division by the end of June at the latest. Building a bit of a lead going into the All-Star Break could help the front office turn their attention toward being legit buyers, and my next few slides will show some more reasons why they may choose to be aggressive at this year's deadline.